Dating Back to 1985
This walk can be commenced from the following points:
Marototo Valley, Hikutaia via the Wires Track, the end of the Marototo Road and taking the Golden Cross Track, from the Golden Cross car park, Quarry Road Whangamata and the Wentworth Valley Whangamata.
Campsites are mainly at the Royal Standard Battery Site and the Tairua River at the top of the Wentworth Valley. There are also sites in between with water available. It is also at one point possible to detour for twenty minutes to the Wentworth Valley Camp.
Commencing, say, at the Golden Cross carpark, one crosses a stream east of the carpark to climb through the paddock past the old crusher foundations to the lake edge, which is followed on the southern side to the far end before dropping down to the right through two gateways onto the old Te Whareki Pack Track.
Turning left one climbs slowly through pine trees before entering natural bush, where a sharp left hand turn must be made to get back onto the original pack track.
This track has a wonderful grade right through to it's summit after which, it steadily loses height to drop down to the flats beside the Te Wharekirauponga Stream and the 1895 Royal Standard Mine.
About 10 minutes down from the summit light starts to shine in over a ridge on the left side of the track. A detour of three minutes onto and up this ridge is well worthwhile, where good views of the Whangamata Township can be seen along with views down towards the Quarry Road carpark. It is known as, "Eric Lens' Lookout."
From this point it is roughly an hour down to where the track drops onto a short flat ridge. At this spot hard against a bank on the right can be seen the start of the pack track to Corbett Road, Waihi. At this point you are half way between the Golden Cross and Quarry Road carparks.
The main track carries on around the left side of a 900ft knob and within a few minutes passes a small track dropping off down to the right to a large Kahikatea tree, about 2 minutes off the track.
From the halfway mark it takes around 1 ½ hours to reach the Te Wharekirauponga Stream. To see the old gold mine and waterfall, it is necessary to follow the track markers back upstream on the true left bank.
After crossing the Adams Stream, a track goes down to the left to the Battery Site and a place to camp, while carrying on straight ahead leads to the mine and waterfall after passing through a tunnel or going over the top of the ridge.
If wishing to push on down the 5km tramline there are places to camp before reaching the carpark from which it is half a kilometre down to Carter Holt Harvey's Pine Plantation [now Matariki Forest Lands - E] entrance and ford, which is taken to get to the Wentworth Valley.
PLEASE NOTE: At times this forest is closed to the public and the road to Wentworth Valley would have to be used and it is quite a distance.
Please check with Carter Holt Harvey, Whangamata. Phone No. (07) 865 8473, office hours. [now Matariki Forest Lands, Ph 07 927 2400 Tga. - E]
From this ford, just follow the main road up to the summit and pass over the boundary fence to the left to go down past a high outcrop of rock on your left and pass around it and through a grass hollow on to a ridge which will take you down steeply at times onto the Wentworth Valley Track, about 20 minutes up from the Wentworth Camp grounds.
On reaching this well formed track, travel left to cross Youngs Stream and the old Auckland Mining Battery site on the left, just before crossing the main Wentworth Valley Stream.
On the opposite side of this crossing and on the right will be noted a track which goes to the old school and hut sites.
All that is left of the school is a pile of bricks from it's double chimney.
At the beginning of this side track, there is also another track which travels above the main track gaining height to reach the spot where the hoppers were loading the ore onto a ropeway to the Battery.
Up behind this site is the tramline running up to the No.3 Level of the mine near the Tornado Stream.
Carrying on by the main track it is not long before the second crossing of the Wentworth Stream is made and the climb starts to the falls and viewing platform.
A little over an hour from here lies the Tairua River, where camping can be found before crossing it. On the right of this crossing is the remains of an Auckland Tramcar.
This track was used right up to the early forties to drive animals to the Paeroa and Hikutaia sales. The late Bill Bridson of Opoutere was one of the last, with the help of Leslie May of Whangamata, to drive mobs of sheep through. No mean feat in those days. Paddocking them and staying a night with the Suttons of Marototo Valley on the way to Paeroa sheep fairs. They used the Tairua River along with the help of the dogs to hold the sheep there overnight.
Ten minutes on from the river is a small clearing on the left which leads across swampy ground to the old Buchanan Sawmill Site beside the river with the remains of a portable steam engine and spare 8.H.P. boiler.
Twenty minutes upstream from here is the remains of the largest Kauri dam ever built in New Zealand, taking over half a million feet of timber to erect it.
PLEASE NOTE: This track which crosses the stream many times is not always clear enough to follow.
Back on the clay road again for half an hour, one passes a road coming in on the right which is the end of the Loop Road from back across the Tairua River.
From this junction it pays to keep to right hand roads, otherwise it is possible to pass the turnoff down through the wooden fence onto the original old 1872 Telegraph Line Track which after a few minutes, passes down over one hundred steps which the pack horses used for many years, delivering mail and goods into this area.
The clay road ahead is more a fourwheel and motorbike road and will take you down to the Wires Road carpark.
From the steps it is a 2½ hour walk through bush and the odd large Kauri tree, passing one remaining standing telegraph pole, then through a cattle holding yard, built from telegraph poles and wire by Messrs Thomas & Green of Hikutaia in the late 1920's and used to draught early calves from their herds which were wintering over in the scrub and bush.
Not long past this site water can be heard on the left, cascading over the waterfalls in the Hamuti Stream. A track leads off down to two of the ten falls on this stream.
The track finally crosses over the Hamuti Stream and soon passes out onto farmland and a fence line is followed to the Wires Road, a little over a kilometre from the carpark.
From this point if no transport is available, one has to walk out to the Marototo Road and up to its end to commence the 1½ hour bush walk up past the mines to the Golden Cross to complete the circuit.
Two sections of this circuit track are not D.O.C. marked tracks.
They are from Golden Cross to the Royal Standard Mine and from Carter Holt Harvey's Pine Plantation Ford to the Wentworth Valley.
Some bush experience is required.