Waihi, NZ: The Hauraki Rail Trail, the Victoria Battery and the Martha Mine
When I was in Waihi for my friend’s wedding in April (when I was back in New Zealand), my parents and I did a few other things while we were there. Shout out to my iPhone 5s for all the following photos, who despite being succeeded and not even being a camera in the first place, carries on and gets the job done in style.
The Hauraki Rail Trail
There’s a great cycle trail in the area called the Hauraki Rail Trail. While designed for bikes and at a length more suitable for biking, it’s also used by many people for walking. My parents and I drove to a point close to Waihi, parked the car and started walking the trail. The trail has lovely scenery all around and runs almost parallel to a river, and of course–as the name states–it follows the railway track.
At the start of the trail we crossed over the river that it follows.
The Victoria Battery
Not long from where we began walking, the trail goes through the Victoria Battery. I spent quite a while here taking a lot of photos because it’s such an interesting area. It’s where they used to process gold, but it’s long out of use and fallen into beautiful ruin. One of my favourite things to photograph is old, decrepit buildings and abandoned machinery, so this was the perfect location for me.
Discarded machinery and a close up of one of the cyanide tanks–or what’s left of it. They are used for a gold extraction process called gold cyanidation.
The Martha Mine
One of the last things we did was check out the Martha Mine. The Martha Mine is an open pit gold mine, which first started operating in the 1880’s. They had also relocated this beautiful old Cornish pumphouse–yay for old buildings!–that looked great in the fading evening light.
The pumphouse. As you can see, the light faded very rapidly.
My dad views the Anzac memorial set up on the fence encircling the mine. The poppies list everyone from the Waihi area who played a part in WWI. The majority of those listed are miners, whose skills were used to dig tunnels.
A striking view of the pumphouse, and a replica poppet head which is what would have lowered supplies and miners into the mine shaft when it was underground.
An inside view of the pumphouse and a look at the runners which they used to relocate the pumphouse to its new location.
Waihi is an interesting little town, especially if you’re into gold mining and it’s history. It’s also surrounded by plenty of accessible walking areas. It’s near Tauranga for a day visit and close to Waihi Beach which is very popular in the summer.