A few quick tips to get started to Harwoods Hole:
- 55 min from The Barn, Marahau.
- At SH 60 take the exit on the right after the Ngarua Caves lookout point. Park at carpark and campsite: Canaan Downs Campsite. There is a toilet at the campsite.
- Length: 2.9 km one way, return via the same track. 45 minutes
- Level: Easy. There is a short steep climb to the lookout. The Rest of the trail is very easy
This short walk is definitely worth the (careful) drive up there.
The road detours off State highway 1 to Takaka and wraps around the Tasman Bay side of the Takaka Hill. It is highly recommended that you do this drive on a clear blue day as you get some awesome views of Tasman Bay. The road is also gravel at this point so a bit safer on a sunny day!
On the drive in you will pass through the Luminate festival grounds before reaching the Cannan Downs car park where you can start the walk.
The path is about 45mins each way and leads you through this LOTR-ish forest until you get to a junction. The right-hand track leads to the Gorge Creek lookout point where you have an amazing view over the Takaka Valley and the Gorge Creek. Please be very careful climbing up to this spot. There are very sharp limestone rock formations right at the cliff.
The left-hand track leads to the deepest vertical shaft in New Zealand. It’s 175 meters deep and is connected to an underground river that flows into the Gorge Creek. You’ll need to speak to the experts if you intend to go caving. You can’t really see down the shaft but it’s still a pretty cool place to visit!
Tip 1: There are multiple nice hikes of different lengths starting at this carpark/campsite so why not combine Harwoods Hole with another walk 🙂
Tip 2: The 11km road from SH 60 to the campsite is very narrow at some point. Please drive carefully.