Chook's Tracks

Quarry Road to Golden Cross

Approx. 20 Kilometres.

Named after the Te Wharekirauponga Stream on the Eastern side of the range and shortened to the Te Whareki Pack Track.

Te Whareki meaning in Maori: "Half-Way House & Food."

1940's, Ben and Cyril Gwilliam wrote an article on the Royal Standard Mine and refers to the half-way house as: "The House of Ponga Leaves." The House of around one hundred Ponga Logs.

By late 1800's, it was known as a Packer's Nightmare as the density of the traffic turned it into deep mud.

Royal Standard Mine Pegged 1895

By April 1897, the mine employed 197 men and had built an eight kilometre tramline down to the head of the tidal Otahu Stream at Whangamata. April 1898, saw 120 men put off leaving only a few to clean up.

The company had spent a lot of money on the tramline, water races, tunnelling and bringing in machinery for the battery before really checking on how much gold was in the reefs they had found.

A new manager was sent out from England and on his arrival did some assays and promptly closed down the workings. The Battery was never erected and was sold along with the rights to Captain Hodge of Coromandel at auction for £700 in 1899.

Later on, he sent fourteen tons of ore to the Thames School of Mines for treatment, which yielded 19 ounces bullion. He was unable to raise further capital in England and the area was abandoned.

There were a lot of eye injuries caused by the flinty nature of the quartz.

Mail to the mine was once a week and nearly every passer-by was a mailman. As the Golden Cross, with about 250 folks living there at the time, had a twice a week delivery plus a post office, the Royal Standard people had wanted likewise and had a petition going to try for the same service.

The track was used by other brave souls as well as pack horses. On record is a story of a lady who tackled the track with a cat under one arm and a parrot under the other. She inspired much respect, wrote the editor of the then Thames Advertiser paper, as she was benighted in the dense bush and forced to pass a bitterly cold night in a hollow Rata tree. He went on to say, perhaps in the days to come there will be a fine road through, lined with pretty homes.

Some of the tramlines to this mine were removed during the early forties for tramlines on farms on the Hauraki Plains area to get their whole milk to the roadsides for collection to the factories when, during the 1939 – 1945 war, it was decided that it was cheese they wanted and not butter, which needed cold storage.

Today 2003, the entrance to the Te Whareki Pack Track at the Golden Cross end is by walking from the carpark up and along the south side of the mine lake to its end and then dropping down to the right through two gateways and then turning left when, on the old pack track, climbing slowly up through the pine trees into heavy bush and a sharp left turn onto the original track.

Views of Mt. Pirongia can be seen as one starts to leave the pine trees behind.

Approximately 2 ½ hours from the Golden Cross carpark at (Lookout, to Whangamata) there are, on the left of the track on a ridge, some good views of Whangamata and down towards the Quarry Road carpark.

Additional material about the Royal Standard Mine

20.4 km, 08:31:37