Chook's Tracks

And Down the Grace Darling Road

Not a D.O.C. Track

This round tramp starts at Scheltema Road, Waitekauri and follows the old Alpha Road to the Komata, passing through van Woerden's farm.

Please leave gates as you find them.

After crossing a concrete ford over the Jubilee Creek, turn right and continue along the fence line to pass through a wire boundary gateway to follow the old road up into a bush gully, after which there are patches of gorse to walk through before passing through a high cutting, and another wire gate which stops cattle from following the road into the bush.

After 1 ½ hours from the main road there will be noted on a wide righthand corner a track climbing to the left. This track goes up to join the old tramline from the Komata and the track to the Huanui Mine.

Just past this point there is a set of tramwheels wired to a tree on the righthand side of the road. Pressing on for over half an hour and on one of the lefthand bends can be seen a track dropping off to the right. This track goes down past the Grace Darling Battery site and out on to the Grace Darling Road.

The next off shoot to the right is a road going down to the Durbar twenty stamp battery site in the headwaters off the Kathleen Stream.

Once out into the light bush there is a track to the left by a small Totara tree which takes you upstream to the main adit of the Durbar Mine, which is traced by the water coming out from under a slip at it's face.

On site are concrete foundations, a berdan with a large hole in it's bottom, along with bits and pieces of iron and the pipe ends of a tin bath hanging in a tree.

By walking up past the tunnel it is possible to follow the old workers track up the ridge past their hutsites and back onto the road just north of where the Alpha Road turns uphill to go to the Komata.

The road now carries on as a narrow pack track to the Grace Darling Road. On the way various tunnels can be seen in the gullies, the main Durbar Drives being up on the hills.

Around an hour after starting along the pack track and on a sweeping lefthand bend, there is a track dropping down to the right which zig zags for a time before getting onto an easier grade to the Burbank Mine site on a tributary of the Grace Darling Stream.

The main track carries on to the summit of the range to go right towards sheep hill or left along the range to meet up with the Alpha Road to the Komata and the old horse winch.

The Burbank Mine is across the stream and is noted by the brown stain of the water coming from it. This was an 1100 ft adit driven in hopes of finding more of the Te Ao Marama Reef in the Komata. Nothing of value was found. There is an old camp oven with no bottom on the site of the cookhouse, along with a few bricks.

Walk down past the cookhouse site and up a few metres to join the track which goes down to the Grace Darling Stream. It can be lost where there is no benching on the ridges in a couple of places.

As soon as one has crossed the stream, climb up through the bush to the left and onto a short ridge where there is evidence of a hut site and out onto the Grace Darling Road.

Going up this road for about ten minutes to it's end is the site of an unsuccessful low level drive put in by the early Golden Cross Miming Co.

Walking down the road for over half an hour, keep a watch out over the bank on your right for an area of flat land covered in light bush between the road and the stream. This is the site of the Great Eastern Crosscut to the Komata mines, driven in 1898 for 1,716ft without finding anything of importance.

The Adit across the stream is noted by a small stream of water rushing down from it. If this site is over shot, it can be picked up further down the road where the tailings reached the side of the road and can be followed back up for over one hundred metres.

Further down the road is the first stream crossing, but before doing so if you go up a few metres and go over to the left and across the stream, this will take you onto a flat where the remains of the Grace Darling Battery can be found, along with a five stamp camshaft beside the stream, concrete foundations which held the tanks, and a pit where the Pelton wheels were for driving the plant, the water coming from the Kathleen Stream by the water race and and then down the hill through the pipes.

Three cams can be seen lying beside a small stream which is crossed when leaving the battery site to join the road again. By going out this way, two stream crossings are saved.

It is in this area that the five mile tramline from Waitekauri to the Golden Cross passed overhead on it's way up the Waitekauri Valley.

From here, and after more stream crossings, farmland is reached and the grassed-over road leads to the Waitekauri Stream where you turn left to pass through two gateways and then right, down towards the old washed out ford and broken down swing bridge to the road gate.

If no transport has been arranged it is a one kilometre walk back to your car at Scheltema Road.

14.1 km, n/a