One of our favourite areas of the Coromandel is the Parakawai Valley and its Wharekirauponga Track. The track starts at the end of Parakawai Quarry Road, two kilometres south of the Wentworth Valley near Whangamata.
The track is along an old horse-drawn tram track through native bush and enroute to the old camp and battery site for the Royal Standard Goldmine. The track follows the Otahu River upstream and leads to a number of waterfalls and swimming holes.
Beyond the battery site and tunnel are the Wharekirauponga Falls. The loop track beyond this point is steep and can be slippery in places. Walkers should be careful that they stay on the main track as the area has many old mine shafts hidden by foliage. The total time taken to do the loop is approximately 3.5 hours.
We decided to take grandsons #3 and 4 for a walk ‘part way’ around the track today. While we started off with great enthusiasm, the day was hot and they were soon more interested in the swimming holes than the walk. Still it was a brilliant day and the kids enjoyed building dams and swimming in the crystal clear (but cold) river water.
If you decide to try the walk, there is a small carpark at the start of the track at the end of Parakawai Quarry Road. In the summer months when the walk is at its busiest, the carpark can get quite full. If you are in a motorhome any larger than 6 or 7 metres, turning around can be a challenging exercise.