Ohinemuri River Historic Walkway


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See also: Ohinemuri River Historic Walkway - Discussion Document ] Butler on Ohinemuri River Walkway ]

Ohinemuri River Historic Walkway

As described in the discussion document. This walk is 7.5 km long and connects the western end of Waihi to Waikino and thus to the various walks in the Karangahake Gorge area.

This heritage walk predominantly follows the Ohinemuri River on the true left bank. Much of the proposed walk is part of the "Queen’s chain" (river reserve), or DoC owned. It occasionally uses the defunct rail built specifically to bring ore from Waihi to Victoria Battery, Wakino, and the water race built to bring water from the masonry damn close by the Dredging Plant in Waihi to the Victoria Battery. All of these are heritage features specific to this walk.

Value of the Project:

The district of Waihi boasts the Karangahake Gorge walks which now supersede the Cathedral Cove walk at Hahei as the most popular walks in the Coromandel. There is a growing interest in not only the natural heritage features, but also the historical features (predominantly associated with the gold mining) by both national and international travellers. This Ohinemuri River Heritage Walk is an essential link between Karangahake – Waikino and Waihi (see location map at conclusion of discussion document).


The walk is rich in mining and natural heritage, hence is not only scenically attractive, but offers a range of educational opportunities, such as -

bulletThe rehabilitation of the river, once the officially designated "sludge channel" for mining (until 1954), this river is gradually returning to a healthy environment. Some riparian planting has been undertaken upstream (from Gilmour Lake, Waihi), by the local active gold company (Newmont) and by Waihi District Walkways, over the past 3-5 years. The area of this walk is predominantly farmed right to the edge of the river, which some patches of untended weed regrowth etc (see Natural Heritage Restoration). There are a number of educational opportunities here for the local schools or universities to monitor river changes and environment, etc.
bulletThe innovative and experimental developments associated with mining in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s heralded leadership in the way gold mining established itself in NZ and the world.
bulletThe impacts of deforestation for mining and farming, subsequent regeneration, and the long-lasting impact of tunnelling, shafts, oxidisation, etc

These (and no doubt more) are wonderful educational opportunities for research studies and on-the-ground work.


Educational and heritage tourism is on the rise in NZ generally and in the Coromandel specifically. All these walks in the area offer national and international visitors a variety of natural features, from the stunning impact of the Waitawheta River and Karangahake gorge to the dramatic rapids and intervening placid waters of the Ohinemuri River. This particular walk shows off the Ohinemuri in a variety of moods and is also part of the linkup between Paeroa, Te Aroha and Thames (via a rail trail). The heritage features are well spaced along the entirety of the walk and will be well interpreted and signed. It may also be available as a cycle route.


Where the mining exploitation has ceased and the land been left to regenerate there is a good covering in parts of manuka and other "pioneer" plants. More prevalent, however, is the legacy of pine, wattle, gorse, blackberry, privet, honeysuckle, etc. The regional council, Environment Waikato, is promoting the "clean streams" initiatives and indicated enthusiastic support for the opportunities with riparian plantings, etc with this walk.


The Waihi District is rich in old mining heritage features and stories, it is the home of innovative mining methods and developments – and these and pre-European activities are becoming more valued by the local community for their cultural and historic significance.

This walk gives opportunity to conserve parts of the historic tramway and waterway – there were flumes built over the river (and back again) and a variety of engineering feats. The first introduction of electric power to the valley (brought in for the gold mining operations) also followed part of this route. Other heritage features are likely to be discovered. Making these and other features available to the community in a natural setting is a wonderful way of providing access to our heritage and enabling greater interest in preserving it.


Waihi District Walkways Inc has already transformed a small DoC area, close to the township’ which was previously an unofficial refuse tip. All manner of rubbish was extracted from the Mill Stream and surrounds, approximately 2000 native plantings have been established over the past 3 years, and more will be planted. Weeds such as blackberry, hawthorn, honeysuckle, wattle, etc are systematically being eliminated. The native plantings will be extended upstream as resources allow – thus enabling the rehabilitation of the stream and the re-establishment of native ecosystem. Kaka have been heard in the area, also Kereru and Ruru sighted – along with the more commonly seen native birds.

This walkway, as with most in the district, also lends itself to heritage interpretation and this is to be established shortly.

Lotteries contributed to this Mill Stream Walk – along with a variety of other funders.

The local WCCC (Waihi Community Consultation Committee) has included this particular walk in its list of projects which the community would like to see created and developed.

Waihi District Walkways Inc is dedicated to identifying and developing walks in the beautiful and significant areas of the district. It has identified a wonderful range of walks, from short, wheelchair options, to remote tramping options. It is currently developing a website, and concurrently working on two other walkways. We are developing our membership and networking throughout the district and detect a wave of "enthusiasm and energy" in the community for such projects. Note, also concurrently and independently is a mapping of all the heritage sites throughout of the district is underway.


Due to the scale of this project, it has been broken into stages to assist with planning, funding and accomplishment. Stage One started May 2004 and was completed 2007.

Stage One

Feasibility and Scoping

Discussion Document

On the ground survey including ownership and access

Stakeholder consultation including iwi consultation

Natural and Cultural Heritage features research and survey and mapping

Further consultation and updated document

Evaluation and risk assessment

This walk has now (at 2009) been incorporated into the proposed national cycleway project and will be developed as part of that initiative.

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Waihi District Walkways Inc. PO Box 241 Waihi New Zealand

Send e- mail to: Waihi Walkways