Toot, toot, here comes the train. That looks like fun – I’ll just nip in to the booking office and buy a couple of tickets, I thought. We hadn’t planned on going on a ride, just arrived to check out the station. But it must have been fate that the train arrived just as we did - and we got such a good “Gold Card” discount for being a couple of oldies too.
Would you believe that the Waihi Gold Mining Company had to loan the New Zealand Government 75,000 pounds back in 1905 to finish building the railway after the project ran out of money? And today we got to ride the only remaining section of the railway from Waihi to Waikino, where the stamper battery was housed. Lots of happy family groups rode along too, in the old vintage carriages. Others preferred the wind in their hair in the open carriages, and shouted and waved at the traffic as we slowly chugged along – many of the big trucks tooted their horns at the train, much to the delight of the kids on board.
Our ride took us through farmland and into the Karangahake Gorge along side the Ohinemuri River. The scenery was lovely with naive bush and lots of ferns.
Pulling into Waikino Station we had a short time to have a look around, and purchase an ice-cream from the station shop, while the driver changed the engine around.
Then it was “All Aboard” again, and time for the return trip. The train went especially slow as it approached a bridge crossing over the highway - workmen were hard at work painting it in-between the train excursion trips.
All too soon our journey was over and we were approaching Waihi Station. Our trip on the Heritage Goldfields Railway had been a great little train ride. There is overnight parking available at Waihi Station for Caravans and motor-homes – it would be fun to stay there for a night or two in the future.