FWH - 3 - MAKAHU TUNNEL
To reach the Makahu tunnel, we had to do a slight detour, turning into Brewer road, and travelling a short distance to reach it.
This Tunnel was quite interesting. It is old, it is in good condition, and it is different to modern tunnels of today. When we saw the entrance (see photo) we wondered if we would be able to fit through in our Camper Van!
The first road to Makahu which was nothing more than a pack track, was widened in 1902 to become a dray road, and the Mangaehu River was bridged.
When the Makahu Co-operative Dairy Factory began producing butter a few years later, it was time to make the access even better to carry the produce out.
The idea of the tunnel met with opposition, as the people in the area, said that the tunnel was being built too high up the hill. It went ahead, and everybody was pleased, it cut 3km off the journey's length.
So in 1907, it all began with men using pick, shovel and explosives to blast and build the Makahu Tunnel. It was constructed of wood and lined with timber, which eventually rotted at the Makahu end and collapsed in 1919.
It was then repaired and lined with concrete - in the form of pillars. Still in use today, strong-walled and perfectly shaped, the Makahu Tunnel is worth the detour to have a look at.
The road the tunnel is located, gives access to the Makahu and Puniwhakau Valleys and a large tract of the Whanganui National Park. Surrounding the tunnel is the Kirai Scenic Reserve.