On the southwestern slopes of Te Aroha, on the eastern side of the Kaimai Range, there is a series of fabulous walks in the Waiorongomai Valley. The tracks were carved out during multiple, largely failed attempts, to commercially mine gold. They include old tramways and several very steep inclines that were created for gravity driven trams. If you’re really keen, try hiking up the well-maintained Butlers Incline.
Throughout the walks, there is evidence of gold mining. Tram tracks and tunnels, rusty mining equipment and old mine heads and shafts. There are also multiple waterfalls while the forest is gradually reclaiming the area.
You can also hike all the way to the top of Mt Te Aroha. From there, connect with the north-south Kaimai tramping tracks.
Check a map carefully to choose your route and match it to the time you have. Some options are very steep and involve stream crossings, whilst others are mostly flat and straightforward.
Take Waiorongomai Road off Te Aroha Gordon Road, southwest of Te Aroha to get to the start of the tracks.