Located within the North islands’ “Golden Triangle” (only 1.5 hours from Auckland and 60 mins from both Hamilton and Tauranga), the Karangahake Gorge is perfectly located for a short break away. With or without kids, getting back to nature also means a slower pace and an escape from the rat race!
A lot of people also don’t realise that there are a plethora of activities to enjoy whatever the weather and with school holidays looming, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to offer more top tips on what to do around here:
Cycle the Hauraki Rail Trail - bring your own bikes or hire them here, this is one of the easiest, most accessible and scenic rides in the North Island. Suspension bridges, tunnels, winding river paths and awesome eateries along the way - and thats just the part between Waihi and Paeroa! www.haurakirailtrail.co.nz
Ride the Goldfields Vintage Railway - you can even take your bike on the open carriage which means you can ride the railway one way between Waihi - Waikino ( or vice -versa) and then cycle the easy one hour ride the other. The train ride takes 30 min and you can enjoy a coffee or ice cream at the Waikino Station Cafe and check out all their gold mining memorabilia! www.waihirail.co.nz
Explore Victoria Battery - this heritage site is open every day to the public and ideal spot for a picnic. Let the kids ( or dogs!) explore old mining relics and check out interpretation signage which give historical information about its past life as a gold processing plant. A museum, tramway and underground tours are also available on weekends and public holidays. www.vbts.org.nz
Discover the Windows Walk - located at the Karangahake Gorge Scenic Reserve, this short walk boasts beautiful scenery and spectacular mining remnants including disused gold mining tunnels - kids will love it! Takes about one hour with some steep steps at one point (so not suitable for push chairs!) and make sure you take a torch! https: www.doc.govt.nz
Visit Bullswool Farm Park - Something for everyone! With a beautiful nature reserve where you can experience native NZ forest and wildlife , get up close and feed rare breed farm animals and kids can enjoy the unique, extensive play area, created by award winning sculptor, Tony Howse. Take a picnic and spend a whole day there ( and no cafe on site). www.bullswoolfarmpark.co.nz
Experience Waihi Gold Discovery Centre - great for a rainy afternoon! Rattle the drill, crank the handles, push the plunger and become immersed in interactive activities at the Waihi Gold Experience which tells the area's gold-mining past, present and future through interactive displays. For those wanting to see more of the real deal, Waihi Gold Mine Tours can take you inside the fence to experience modern-day gold mining up close. www.golddiscoverycentre.co.nz