Karangahake Gorge was the scene of the Coromandel’s first gold rush, though in this leafy cleft it’s hard to envisage the frenetic activity that took place around the turn of the twentieth century. The steep-sided gorge snakes along SH2 as it traces the Ohinemuri River to Waihi.
The largest (though still tiny) settlement is Karangahake, where a car park marks the start of several excellent walks along the rivers and around old gold-mining ruins. They range from twenty minutes to several hours and are detailed in DOC’s Karangahake Gorge leaflet. Beyond, minuscule Waikino is the western terminus of the Goldfields Railway.