Time: 2–3 hr return from road end car parks
Distance: 3.5 km circuit
The 500-m long Collins Drive provides an opportunity to experience a real underground mine system. This tunnel was driven through the hill in a fruitless attempt to find a quartz reef with payable ore. Dangerous shafts have been boarded up. You will need a torch for the 15-min boardwalk through the tunnel. Turn your torch off near the tunnel entrances to see the glow-worms.
The easiest approach to Collins Drive is via the Third Branch Track (Puketui Road) or Water Race Tunnels Track (Puketui Valley Road). A small landing 5 min short of Collins Drive marks the start of an aerial cableway that carried ore hoppers to the Golden Hills stamper battery. From the west end of Collins Drive, a 10-min climb to the ridge will bring you to the Main Range track. Turn to the east (right) and you will return to the Puketui Valley road end car park, approximately 1 hr away. Check out the views from the lookout on the way.
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