ECHO Walking Festival


Walks / Waiotahi – Karaka Circuit

Waiotahi – Karaka Circuit


Saturday, 18 April 2020

Grade 5

Nearest Town: Thames

Registration Region: Thames / Coromandel

Duration: 5 - 6 hours approx - 17km approx

Start Time: 8:00 am - Karaka DOC Carpark

Cost: No Cost

After meeting at the Karaka Rd DOC carpark, walk past the hospital and up Waiotahi Road to the start of the Waiotahi track.

Ably lead by the Kauaeranga Tramping Club - an initial steep climb through regenerating bush levels off as you wind through the hills.  There is a great view across the Firth of Thames before the track dives back into the hills.  After about two hours, the Waiotahi Track meets the Karaka Track to return to Thames via the Karaka Track and the Red Rocks (also called Red Bluff after the colour of the lichen that grows on them).  The rocks are about an hour or so after the junction.  At the Red Rocks, the trail crosses a bluff and there are impressive views over the Karaka Valley all the way to Table Mountain.  While the Waiotahi Track is generally well developed, the Karaka Track is rougher and has many boggy sections. 

There are also some tricky stream crossings, two of which have been bridged by the Thames Mountain Bike Club.  Along the way you’ll pass many reminders of the gold-mining history of Thames, especially on Karaka Track, which is for much of its length a Council road, formerly developed to access the gold mining works.  There are many shafts dug into the hills to access the seams of gold, it is advisable not to enter these as sometimes they experience rock falls.

Distance: 17km approx

Optional: Bring torch (there’s a few places to explore)


  • Bring Food and Drink
  • Hat and Sunscreen
  • Jacket
  • Torch Required

PLEASE NOTE: Participants are responsible for their own safety equipment, food, water, clothing and vehicles.