The Piako County Tramway track is located in the Waiorongomai Valley just outside of Te Aroha in the waikato the valley is accessed off the Te Aroha Gordon rd then onto Waiorongomai rd and drive to the end.
There are several tracks here and there are two ways to walk the County Tramway, we decided to take the high level track via the Fern Spur incline, the Fern Spur is the lower of two inclines that were used to to lower the gold ore down a steep tramway to the valley floor and the ore crusher which is what you see at the base of the track a big concrete block that housed the crusher.
There is not alot to see until you arrive at the Fern Spur headframe a large wooden structure where the huge cast iron wheels were housed to pull the carts up the incline and take the ore down there are two tracks for this reason as the ore goes down the cable pulls the empty cart up.
From here the track winds around the side of the steep mountain and crosses over a small stream into a saddle then rises up to the tramway track, the track delivered the ore to the Furn Spur headframe there are a few relics lying around on the track old wheels etc from the carts.
Walking along the tramway you will arrive at the base of Butlers incline this is the longest incline on the tramway, we thought this was part of the track and headed up the steep incline and 15 minutes on, the legs could take no more this was really hard going and no sign of the top of the incline we headed back down to the bottom.
At the base of Butlers we found the water race track this track joins a larger track network that takes you up to the summit we walked for around 20 minutes and arrived at the river the walk was worth it as there is a stunning view of the river flowing through the large boulders.
We headed back the way we walked in and just before Butlers incline is the return to the car park along the low level track, this is a loop, you can walk up the low level track and return down the Piako County Tramway track, which is the way we came up the mountain, the low level track is a better track with less mud and is through native bush with glimpses of the river down below this part of the track network takes around two hours for the loop including the walk down the water race track and back.
Piako County Tramway