Roaring Meg Pack Track

The complete Roaring Meg Pack Track runs 18 kilometres from the Kawarau Gorge over the Pisa Range to the Cardrona Valley.  At the Kawarau Gorge end there are two hydro electric power stations that are fed by the Roaring Meg Dam.  The small hydro scheme is a source of interest for this 10.3 kilometre out-and-back section of the Pack Track, which begins on State Highway 6 in the Kawarau Gorge.

 

GPS-tracked route (click to enlarge)

The poled track can be accessed from the Recreation Reserve on the highway, opposite the lower power station, however this section up to the main track is steep and was somewhat overgrown when we were there .  We returned via the main four wheel drive track and a short walk along the highway.  The track is maintained for access to the upper power station and has a locked gate at the highway end.  This gate also prevents bike access. There is an elevation gain of 530 metres during this walk, and it  took around four hours, with a generous lunch stop at the dam.

 

Early on the Roaring Meg Pack Track

 

Roaring Meg Dam

The holding dam was the farthest point of our walk. The dam discharges its water into two generating power stations below.

 

10 metre high dam wall

 

Pipes carrying water out of the dam

 

Upper power station

The water from the dam passes through two turbines in the upper power station and is discharged into pipes leading to the lower power station (which also has two turbines) or to the Roaring Meg Stream.

 

Returning on the Pack Track

 

Lower power station and State HWY 6 coming into view from the track

 

Lower Roaring Meg Power Station discharging into the Kawarau River

The Roaring Meg Hydro Scheme was commissioned in 1936, originally to supply electricity to the giant gold dredge, the Austral-Malay, which worked the Lowburn Flats, near Cromwell.  It was the biggest gold dredge in the world at that time. The hydro scheme has been connected into the national grid since 1957 and has an output of 4000 kilowatts.

 

Outflow from one of the turbines into the Kawarau River

 

Scenic Kawarau River flowing downstream from the power station

 

 

 

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