Martha Mine Pit Rim Walk

By Bay of Plenty Walks, North Island

By Judy Eva
Waihi’s Pit Rim Walkway/Cycleway is a most enjoyable walk that starts at the Waihi Information Centre and also ends there.

Waihi’s Pit Rim Walkway/Cycleway is a most enjoyable walk that starts at the Waihi Information Centre and also ends there.
Only metres from the centre of Waihi township and directly across the street opposite the I Site (Information Centre) is the start of this great walk/cycle path.
You can take the stairs from the footpath or if you have a bike there is access to the right of the stairs along the footpath where you can use the concrete ramp that is designed for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. This will take you up to the beginning of the walk/cycle path.
This old gothic style Cornish pump house that sits on the top of the hill above the street was based on a design used in the tin mines in Cornwall England. It was used to house the steam engines that operated the huge pumps that kept the Martha Mine from flooding. It looks so grand and gives pleasant memories of the old history of New Zealand. So very great that it has been preserved.
Follow the fenced path to the left and around the top of the rim and as you look down you will be blown away by the size and depth of the pit which was once a hill and is now sitting100ms below sea level.
Unfortunately due to a million tonne fall of rock and earth several years ago access around the complete top area of the rim is closed off for safety reasons and operations of the mine have been put on hold so the original path that circled the top of the mine travels a short distance along the top edge where the rest of the path is netted off and detours onto the street below. This entails travelling a short distance along the street to access the new track.
You will be directed down onto the street by well marked arrow signs which you will follow for the rest of your walk/cycle around the base of the mine. Once on this street turn right and follow the well marked arrow signs where further along you will be directed up a hill on the right. It is from here that the track begins. Unfortunately the rim is now out of view until you return to the finish back at the pump house.
The gravel track continues clockwise around the western end of the mine (well marked by arrows) and meanders through native bush, acres of old gold mining relics are scattered along the way beside the path where it is worth spending some time for a bit of history of old New Zealand.
There are also scenic parklands and a small wetland area along the way. Follow the arrows which will take you back to the start on the top of the rim by the old pump house. There are many delightful café’s in the area of this quaint lovely little town where you can rest your wary legs and body and soak up a well deserved coffee or tea.
Waihi is a town with a history of mining and has adopted the name from the meaning Heart of Gold. It is well worth a visit for those who want to relive the old gold mining days. There is the Waihi Goldmine Discovery Centre that is worth a visit to learn more about this very interesting old town.
The walk is approximately 4 kms and it took me three hours taking into account my casual stopping to explore old relics, taking photos and due to the heat in January I wasn’t in a hurry.