Harwoods Hole

After an 11km drive on a reasonably good gravel road (Cannan Road) we arrived at the Cannan carpark and the start of the walk to Harwoods hole.

From the Carpark, a 45minute, 2.2km walking track leads through beech forest with stunning limestone rock formations framing the track.

Harwoods Hole is a cave system located in the northwest of the South Island of New Zealand, in the Abel Tasman National park. The hole is the deepest vertical shaft in New Zealand and is 50m diameter and 183m deep.

At about the half way point of the the track there are a few tree roots and rocks to navigate.
Further on the track becomes quite rocky in places – you can just see Graham ahead, through the trees.
Almost at the hole
And here we are…. you can’t actually see very far down the hole. It is very dangerous to approach the edge there are no barriers and as we found out it’s impossible to see down the shaft.
This is about as far down the hole as you can see with out hanging over the rocks.
Looking up towards the top of the hole.

At a junction in the track, the right-hand branch leads to spectacular Gorge Creek Lookout with stunning views of the Takaka Valley and Gorge Creek. Care is required reaching the lookout as the track traverses very sharp limestone rock formations.

A fantastic view from the Gorge Creek lookout – looking down over the Takaka valley towards Takaka.
A few quick photos of the view after a scary clamber over the rocks, I must admit my legs were shaking for awhile after that!
The rocks are quite jagged and what you can’t see here are the large deep cracks between the rocks.

Getting there:

From State Highway 60, near the top of the Takaka Hill, follow an unsealed 11 km side road (Canaan Road) to Canaan Carpark where there is a campsite, toilet, water and orientation sign.

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