With winter approaching our visitor numbers have dropped right off so we have had lots of time in the past few weeks to explore local walks and tramping trails. We choose a fine day after a week of rain to do this walk so the falls were at their maximum capacity. I commented to Greg that if these falls were in some other country with a bigger population there would be huge car parks and visitor centre and cafe. However being little old New Zealand we still can enjoy these fantastic natural wonders in their pristine state without hords of tourists or tourist buses.
The track to the falls meanders up a valley and across bridges through beautiful native bush with lovely bird life. The river below the falls crashes it’s way down the valley over rocks and caverns and then out onto the Waikato Plains. The climb to the bottom of the falls takes about 90 minutes. For younger, fitter walkers it would be a lot less. At the time we did it we were in training for a multi day walk in the South Island so once we had marveled at the beauty of the falls from the bottom we then took the steep and rocky track up the cliff side to the top of the falls. The track is quite hard and steep but well maintained by the Department of Conservation so it is fairly easy to navigate.
Once at the top of the cliffs the tack leads you along a river, past some rapids to the top edge of the falls where the water crashes down. The face of the falls is probably about 50 metres across as a very rough estimate so there is a very large volume of water crashing over the falls and makes for an amazing site. We were there late in the afternoon and the sun was low on the horizon. We didn’t daly as were keen to get back before sunset but it was a beautiful site looking out across the Waikato Plains below. It is hard to see the scale of the falls or the height from pictures but we took some snaps so I will put them into this article. If you are feeling fit when you come to stay at the lodge and enjoy a good hike this is a great day out and can be combined with a trip to Hobbiton, or a walk to the Blue Springs or a swim at Te Aroha or a walk in the Karangahake Gorge. We are so lucky with all dozens of wonderful day walks we have in easy reach of our lodge.
For people who love the outdoors and enjoy walking this is a great place to stay for several days or a week. Make sure you bring some sturdy foot ware and a good warm, waterproof jacket in case it rains. The great thing about hiking in New Zealand is that you can do it all year round. At in the off season there are very few people and it doesn’t get too hot. In the summer you have the shade of the native bush and you can often swim in pools in the rivers you walk along.