The Karangahake Gorge links Waihi to Paeroa and was once alive with gold mining towns that have since faded or vanished completely. Following a disused railway through the gorge is the Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway, a great way to come in closer contact with the history of the area.
Paeroa is best known in New Zealand as the home of Lemon and Paeroa, a soft drink made using the waters of a local mineral spring. North of town it is worth-while visiting the Historical Maritime Park. A number of old boats have been restored here to their former glory, including a vintage paddle steamer. Otherwise Paeroa serves as departure point for an exploration of the Waik-ato: follow SH26 south-west to Hamilton.