Chook's Tracks

Wharekawa Ridge Loop Road and Down the Wentworth Valley.

This track climbs steeply onto a ridge to the left of the camp manager's house and soon joins the old pack track that connected onto the 1872 telegraph line track which ran through to Hikutaia, Thames and Auckland. The other end from Wharekawa to Tauranga, Gisborne and on to Wellington.

This old pack track was used as a means of getting goods etc. from the Whangamata wharf along with stock over into the Thames Valley area and mail by return.

The track follows mainly ridges, the bush having been cut over for it's Kauri. Nearing the summit ridge to Gold Mount, (named after a mining co.), one passes a small shaft beside the track (Mine shaft) which, according to a Mines Statement of 1896, could well have been dug by Natives of the area. On reaching the tee junction on the ridge (Junction, north to Gold Mount) and by turning right takes you to Gold Mount with beautiful views across Whangamata, Slipper Island and north to Tairua.

On the way to Gold Mount, one will notice opencuts on your right put in by mining companies of yesteryears.

A number of mines lay over in the gully on the left of the track. This was the Waimangu Claim which was situated in the headwaters of the Wharekawa River above the junction of the Culpans and Sutcliffe Creeks and worked by the Waimangu Gold Mining from 1905. A reef of about one metre wide was found but not enough payable ore was found and work ceased after 12 months. Later on this claim was joined onto the Phoenix Claim by a small company under the name of Goldwyn.

The ground was abandoned in 1911. Ore crushed amounted to only thirteen tons for bullion worth £136.

Phoenix, Pukewhau Claim

Worked by an Auckland syndicate from 1895 to 1897, which sent a parcel of 14 cwt to Thames for treatment for a return of £14. Some small parcels of ore were sent to Australia but results are not known.

In a gorge near the Phoenix workings is the remains of one of the few " Gate Dams " which was built to help float out Kauri logs. It could be the one referred to in the book written by the late Father Bennett from Tairua called, "The Tairua Kauri Milling Co".

Retracing your steps back to (Junction, north to Gold Mount), approx. 30 minutes, one continues on along the ridge where, after about twenty minutes, there can be seen remains of the poles, crossarms, and bolts plus wire up in the trees, all part of the old Telegraph Line.

From (Junction, north to Gold Mount) to the Loop Road at (Junction with Loop Rd) takes a little over an hour, followed by another half hour on the clay road to join up with the Wentworth Valley track and the home run of about two hours, passing the Wentworth Valley Falls, and the remains of the Auckland Mining Co's. battery on the right after crossing the main Wentworth Stream.

7.2 km, 05:27:19