What to Do in Waihi
Waihi is a town of wonder that’s not to be missed! Situated between the Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Plenty, Waihi is the perfect pitstop for your North Island road trip. The area is where gold mining history and breathtaking landscapes unite to bring visitors many amazing things to do in Waihi! From the historic town packed with heritage buildings to the sweeping beaches of the Waihi coast, you’re bound to find something to love about Waihi.
While you’re visiting Waihi, don’t miss the surrounding towns:
1. Walk Around the Martha Mine Pit
A must-see in Waihi is the Martha Mine Pit! The Martha Mine Pit Walkway encircles the entire pit where you can gaze deep into the chasm. The 4km (2 miles) wide gravel trail is an easy-going walk with interpretation panels to learn about the history along the way.
Location: There are several access points, with the most popular being opposite the Waihi Visitor Centre on Seddon Street.
2. Ride the Hauraki Rail Trail
The popular 160km (99-mile) cycle journey between Kaiaua and Matamata encompasses the railway history of Waihi. An unmissable section of the Hauraki Rail Trail is from Paeroa to Waihi (24km/15 miles), incorporating the only remaining section of heritage railway that was a vital link in the North Island in the early 1900s. Cross original railway bridges and meander alongside the stunning Ohinemuri River between Waihi and Waikino, while delving through tunnels in the Karangahake Gorge – learn more in the 6 Hauraki Rail Trail Towns You Can’t Miss. Bike hire and shuttle services are available in Waihi.
Location: Waihi to Paeroa.
3. Explore Karangahake Gorge
History and epic landscapes combine on the walking trails of Karangahake Gorge. See what it would have been like to work underground at Mt Karangahake more than 100 years ago ad you delve into mining tunnels, walk over bridges and see mining relic left behind. As for the natural landscape, be awed by the towering gorge walls thick with native forest, as well as cascading waterfalls. Karaganhake Gorge is a must-do in the Waihi area!
Location: State Highway 2, 14km (9 miles) west of Waihi.
4. Visit the Waikino Victoria Battery
Back in 1896, the Waikino Victoria Battery could be heard for miles as it crushed more than 800 tonnes of gold-bearing stone per day. It was the largest quartz-crushing plant in Australasian during the time! Today, you can walk around the remaining foundations or jump on the Goldfields Railway for a guided tour departing from Waihi and the Waikino Station.
Location: The walk starts at the Waikino Bridge on State Highway 2.
5. Go to Waihi Beach
Enjoy 9km (5.5 miles) of golden-sand beach at this popular Kiwi holiday destination. It’s one of the safest surf beaches in New Zealand, where surf lessons and hire are available. Otherwise, Waihi Beach is a great place to enjoy all your classic beach activities. What’s more, the sunrise from the beach is something to treasure forever!
Location: Waihi Beach Road, just off State Highway 2.
6. Hike the Orokawa and Homunga Walkway
Some of the best walks on the Waihi coast is at Orokawa Bay and Homunga Bay. Take the 30-minute one-way walk from the northern end of Waihi Beach to the secluded Orokawa Bay taking in expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and Waihi Beach. From Orokawa Bay, there are markers to indicate a walk through the bush to a spectacular 28m (92ft) high waterfall, taking about 40 minutes to walk one-way. Alternatively, take the track from the northern end of Orokawa Bay to Homunga Bay (2 hours one-way) through dense pohutukawa forest.
Location: Northern end of Waihi Beach, accessed via Waihi Beach Road off State Highway 2.
7. Visit Bowentown
At the southern end of Waihi Beach is the small settlement of Bowentown and the towering Bowentown Heads. Check out Anzac Bay for safe swimming and rock fishing. Explore the walks of the Bowentown Domain which lead to historic Maori pa sites (fortified villages) with some amazing views. There’s also a pleasant bush walk between Anzac Bay and Shelly Bay.
Location: Seaforth Road, off Waihi Beach Road, Waihi Beach.
8. Admire The Mosaic Garden
[Update: The Mosaic Garden on 22 Connell Street East has closed. However, alternative mosaic art can be admired nearby in Waikino as part of the Waikino Bridge & Village Memorial, 87 Old Waitekauri Road, approximately 7km (4.3 miles) west of Waihi].
Wander around these creative gardens in Waihi, which has something for everyone. See what mosaic art you will discover (and what pets you will encounter) in The Mosaic Garden. It’s a great place to relax and have a picnic.
Location: 22 Connell Street East.
9. Go Fishing
Got a fishing license? Then don’t miss doing some trout fishing in the breathtaking Karangahake Gorge or the Waitawheta River – Dickey’s Flat is a popular spot with the locals. Alternatively, there’s some great surfcasting to be had from Waihi Beach, Bowentown Heads, Bowentown Bar, Matakana Bank Shelly Bay and Matakana Island. Join one of the charter boats operating from Waihi Beach.
Location: Waihi Beach.
10. Play a Round of Golf
Play on the picturesque fairways of the Waihi Golf Club. This 18-hole course has large greens for an enjoyable walk in the great outdoors with plenty of challenges for novices and seasoned golfers alike. Discover more golfing in New Zealand in our 21 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.
Location: 113 Woodlands Road.