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Devil’s Elbow

    In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, miners and bushmen along the Waitawheta River came up with ingenious ways to travel through the tight curves of the gorge on either side of the river. The Devil’s Elbow is one of the sharpest bends in the river, and one of the toughest to negotiate.

    In 1910 the Kauri Timber Company invested in a then-modern steam locomotive to work the tramway, with a special double bogie system. The locomotive came all the way from Invercargill, but couldn’t make it around the curves at the Devil’s Elbow. It was worked by horses until the arrival of modified tractors in 1923.