Friday, Feb 5, 2016
It started drizzling rain a few hours before sunrise and it was wet most of the day, but we didn’t have any heavy rain so it was cool, but comfortable.
We ate a little breakfast before we left Mt. Maunganui. We headed north toward the Karangahake Gorge. While we were on the way, we decided to take a ride on the Goldfields Railway.
This is a 30 min train ride to a little cafe, a 45 minute stop at the cafe and then a return ride.
We had lunch at the cafe before we returned to the car and continued our drive to the gorge.
On the way to we stopped for a few minutes to see the Victoria Battery, which was an old gold mine stamping battery.
When we finally got to the Karangahape Gorge, it was still drizzling off-and-on, but we spent one and a half hours walking the Windows walk. There are several hikes in the area but this one goes through the gold mine stamping battery.
We had to walk across 2 swing bridges to the start of the hike and there was the remains of a building at the end of the second bridge.
The walk went through the forest on well maintained trails and you could see remnants of the different buildings that were being slowly reclaimed by the environment. Trees, grasses and shrubs were growing in the cracks of the concrete and breaking it apart.
Part of the trolley rails were still visible and there was a trolley car still on the tracks. It looked like it could be used in an Indiana Jones movie set.
After the buildings, the trail went through some of the tunnels which where just inside of the cliff face.
There were some side tunnels and I followed several of the them to the point where the digging had stopped.
The main tunnels also had ” windows ” facing out towards the river. This is a view from inside the main tunnel.
And this is a view of the windows in the cliff face taken from below. You can see one of them clearly in the middle of the picture and a couple to the right of it that are partially hidden by the vegetation.
We enjoyed the views of the old buildings, the machinery and the plaques explaining what each of the areas.
After we finished our trek, we continued our drive to Hot Water Beach. On the way we stopped at Tairua to take pictures and decided to have dinner at Punter’s Bar and Grill. It was very noisy because we got there during ” Happy Hour “, but the food was quite good. Cheryl had a BLT with their ” award winning ” bacon ??!
Whereas, I had a simple chicken caesar salad.
After a filling meal, we were on our way and we were able to secure a site near the ” Hot Water Beach “, where you can dig a hole in the sand at low tide along the beach and have it fill up with hot water from the hot water below. We may not try this because tomorrow we want to see Cathedral Cove and we have to be there 30 minutes before low tide. But then we’re never really sure what we will do, until we do it.