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REALLY SideTracked - Papamoa (BOP) Traditional Geocache

Hidden : 07/10/2021
1.5 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

A hundred years ago, the trip from Auckland to Tauranga would involve an overnight steam ferry. Today, it involves several hours of fighting through traffic. But, until surprisingly recently, there was a third alternative - you could take the train! This cache celebrates that bygone era. In discovering the long-lost stations of the East Coast Main Line, you'll be REALLY SideTracked.

The East Coast Main Line

Construction of the railway from Mount Maunganui to Taneatua began in 1910 with the first scheduled trains running from Mount Maunganui to Te Puke by October 1913. The Eastern Bay of Plenty was, and still is, mainly an agricultural region, although the kiwifruit industry, of which Te Puke claims to be the "world capital" was still decades into the future. The railway allowed produce, and manure, to be shipped to Te Puke, Tauranga and beyond and allowed the residents to purchase all manner of items which were ordered by mail and delivered by train. The local station was also an important communications hub for the district, as the location for the local Post and Telegraph Offices.

Papamoa Station

Planning for Papamoa Station began on 1st November 1910 and tenders for the building contract were put out on 9th June 1913. The tender for both Papamoa and Te Puke stations was awarded to Thomas Ashton of Kaukapakapa at a cost of £2459 17s 5d and the work was completed on 28th January 1914.  The station buildings consisted of a passenger platform, accomodation, shelter shed, post and telephone office, 20ft x 30ft goods shed, a loading bank and cattle and sheep yards. The track included a 42-wagon crossing loop, a 20-wagon loop to accomodate local loading and the goods shed and a 28-wagon back-shunt for the cattle yards. 

There are no photographs of Papamoa Station but Te Puke, built by the same contractor, looked like this:-


This was a substantial station and was definitely appreciated by the community, as this article from The Bay of Plenty Times on 8th August 1919 shows:-


"An extensive area of country within the Te Puke Riding—in shape something like a huge triangle—lies between the Waitao, Kopouroa, and Kaituna Rivers and the ocean, and is known as Papamoa. In this area also much land is held by the natives, but the bulk is owned by Europeans. The Papamoa Nos. 1 and 2 settlements were acquired by the Government from the natives, and when offered for selection over twenty years ago the lands were readily taken up. Many of the original selectors still hold their land, and by perseverance and hard work have made good. Some of the elevated land runs right back into the bush, and the bulk is now in grass. The lowlands —mostly reclaimed swamp —are very fertile, and some of the land here has changed hands at £40 per acre. Dairying, maize, and turnip growing claim the attention of the settlers, and no area in the Bay of Plenty can beat the Papamoa general returns. First in importance is dairying, but a very large number of fat cattle and sheep arc turned off every year, and find their way to the Auckland market, or the East Coast Co-operative Freezing Company's works at Whakatane. There is a native school at Papamoa, and the Education Board has a school at Upper Papamoa. and another at Lower Papamoa. There is a post and telephone office at the Papamoa railway station.

Papamoa is now enjoying all the benefits of the railway, which runs right through the district, with stations at Otaimatua (Kairua) and Papamoa, the trade from this prosperous territory finding its way to Tauranga and Te Puke."

Unfortunately, by the late 1950s road transport had taken over and the station was closed to passengers on 7th February 1959. However, the passing loop was very useful for the increasing log and paper traffic for the Kawerau paper mill and was extended in 1955. It was even retained when the station closed to all traffic on 10th August 1970 and used for the storage of wagons from 13th August 1974. In early 1986, it was noted that "the Papamoa back-shunt service siding has only been used in recent times for the storage of derelict wagons". These were removed and the extra track was finally taken up some time after 17th April 1986. The station officially closed on 5th March 1987.

Visiting the site now, it is still possible to visualise where the platform and stockyards were and there is even the end of a loading ramp, very similar to the more complete one at Otumoetai Station, but it seems very far away from the rapidly expanding housing of present-day Papamoa.

About SideTracked caches
This cache belongs to the SideTracked series. It is not designed to take you to a magical place with a breath taking view. It's a distraction for the weary traveller, but anyone else can go and find it too. More Information can be found on the SideTracked Series website at

This particular cache is part of the REALLY SideTracked series which celebrates former, disused or heritage stations.


Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Oruvaq. Cyrnfr er-pbire jryy.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)