Broken Hills at Hikuai was a gold mining area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The mining settlement of Puketui alongside the Tairua River had about 200 residents by 1912, but production at the mines declined shortly afterwards, and only small-scale mining continued until 1923. A permanent settlement at the current DoC campsite at the end of Puketui Valley Road was planned but not built due to the decline in gold production. There are only a few relics left from the mining days, and no remains of the settlement.
The walkways in the Broken Hills Gorge can be accessed from either Puketui Valley Road or Puketui Road. There is no road connection between these two, and the Third Branch Stream must be crossed for all access from the end of Puketui Road. This stream can be fast flowing and difficult to cross with dry feet.