A bridge has recently been built across the Karaponga Stream, and a track to a waterfall below the Karaponga Dam has been opened up. This post is an addition and update to the Karaponga Reserve and Dam post, over three years after that walk.
Karaponga Reserve is located at the end of Symond Road, off Braemar Road, between SH30 and SH2, near Kawerau and Matata. There is a small parking area by the reserve, and a locked gate to climb across to access the reserve. There are no toilet or other facilities nearby.
For an addition and an update to this post, see the later post Karaponga Reserve, Waterfall and Dam.
Karaponga Reserve is located at the end of Symond Rd, off Braemar Rd, between Matata and Kawerau. The reserve has one of the earliest hydro-electric power stations in New Zealand, with a dam on the Karaponga Stream supplying water to the power station.
The power station was first constructed in 1922 to supply power to Whakatane. It was expanded with a second generator in 1928, but closed down in 1939. Reconstruction and recommissioning started in 1996, and the power station is now operational. The light pumice soils in the area quickly filled up the dam, so it contains almost no water reserve, with the power station relying on the flow of the Karaponga Stream alone for its supply. About 800m of pipeline transports the water from the dam to the power station, with a fall from about 120m above sea level at the dam to about 40m at the power station. Continue reading