Wairere Falls

Hi guys,

During ANZAC day (25th Apr), I finally got to visit Wairere Falls. A place I’ve been dying to go to for a few months now. It’s the highest waterfall in the North Island and you can see just how big it is on the way to the entrance.

The walking track to the falls is located on Goodwin Road; around 15 mins drive from Matamata town centre. The track is quite straightforward with signs to help you. It has a few bridges for you to look at the boulders and streams laying about.

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My attempt at getting the smooth water effect

I’m not sure if the track is usually as slippery and muddy, or if it was due to the intense rainfall we had the week before, but I tripped quite a few times so be careful when trekking here as the track has a lot of rocks, tree roots and high steps that make it easy to slip and fall. Most of the walk is covered within the forest of trees so it’s not too hot and there’s no searing sun blasting onto your neck. You’re also allowed to take dogs here which makes for a great family trip or even a great day for your beloved pet.

The first lookout is around 45 mins and from here you can see a direct view of the 153m waterfall.

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Wairere Falls

If you’re not already exhausted from the walk to the lookout, you can walk a further 45 mins to the second lookout at the top of the falls. It is absolutely worth it to get to the top. The views you get are stunning and the weather we had that day just topped it off. You know you’re almost there when you start hearing the sound of rushing water, and not long after you turn a corner and can see a beautiful shallow stream.

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Stream at the top

If you continue walking downstream, you reach the cliff edge where the waterfall starts and the water is so shallow that you can walk right up to the edge and in the stream where you can see the Waikato plains below you. You feel like you’re on top of the world. There was even a family grilling sausages on a portable BBQ for lunch! If you bring along packed sandwiches and some snacks it would make one of the best places to eat lunch with a view 🙂

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Walking to the edge of the waterfall

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We made it !

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Picturesque

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The Amazing View of our flat Waikato Plains

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Soaking it all in

The path back is the same way you came up but its a lot faster and easier! This is a must go place if you’re ever driving past the Waikato.

-medlabgeek

 

Kitekite Falls

Its Auckland Anniversary Day today so it was a long weekend. It was also my friend’s birthday during the weekday so we thought we would celebrate it by going to hike up the waterfalls and cool off in the pools at the top.

So many people had the same idea ! (I don’t blame them) It’s a great place to get out and enjoy nature in such a busy city like Auckland. Especially since it’s not far from the city – around 40 mins drive. And best of all, its free! 🙂

It was a scorching day and I couldn’t wait to go take a dip. The entrance to the track is at the end of Glenesk Road and there’s a big sign telling you it takes 30 minutes to the falls. If you follow that track it takes you to the bottom of the falls which has a big pool that you can swim in. You can also see the huge waterfall in front of you.

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Base of Kitekite Falls

If you want to go to the top, its a 15 min walk on the left side of the falls up the connect track or if you wanted to go straight up the top and not stop at the base; you can start at the Byer’s walk on Glenesk Road and merge onto the connect track (beware there’s lots of steps). It’s a great workout! My calves were sore the next day.

By the time we made it, I couldn’t wait to jump in. But when I did jump in, oh man was it cold! I definitely couldn’t stay in there for long. But theres a rocky outcrop to the side that you can sit on and relax. Over there, you can see another pool below you and a great view of just trees and trees and trees. It was such a nice way to cool off and stare into the distance with the sun keeping you warm, a gentle breeze and the coolness of the water on your toes.

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Top of kitekite falls

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View below the pool

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Rocky outcrop to sit and relax on the left

-medlabgeek

 

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

This weekend, my friends and I embarked on the well known Tongariro crossing. This place is recognised as a world heritage site and received a lot of recognition from the lord of the ring movies (where Mt. Doom was filmed).

If you are thinking of trying to complete this hike, I suggest you give yourselves an ample amount of time (maybe do an overnighter) as the hike itself is 6-8hrs if you only complete the main track. If you want to go up Mt. Ngauruhoe (~2300m above sea level and takes 3hrs) or to Tongariro summit (~2000m above sea level and takes 1.5hrs return) it is best to leave around 6-7am. I have attached a very informative site about the crossing, what to expect and weather updates here.

We started our hike at 10am as we came from Auckland which is a 4hr drive towards Tongariro. After staying one night at the Chalet, we boarded a shuttle which costs $25 for students and $30 for adults (the company we booked from is here). We parked our car at the end point of the hike and the shuttle drove us to the starting point.

The only toilets available are at the carpark zones and around 1.5 hrs into the track so make sure you do go to the toilet even if you don’t feel like it. Due to the vast change in environment, it is important to wear comfortable, windproof yet light gear and wear hiking shoes if you can as you will be walking 19.4km at the very least and your legs and feet will definitely be sore! Don’t be afraid to rest if you need to as the exhaustion on your body and change in oxygen levels from the ascent will make it harder for your body to reach the oxygen levels needed.

Its also a no brainer to bring LOTS of water (bring around 3L), sunscreen, a hat, a light jacket and high energy food. There are also quite a lot of people doing the hike and when you reach the end and you’re exhausted, the shuttle buses are kind enough to let you on to drive you to the carpark even if you didn’t purchase a ticket. After the hike, everyone was very sore so we had a quick dinner, bought some powerade and went back to the chalet for rest (the shower helped my sore muscles loads). I slept for around 12-13hrs and felt MUCH better. At around 10am the next morning, we drove back down to Auckland with an appreciation of the beauty around us and great memories of our accomplishment.

Below are some photo’s I took along the journey. Super happy that the weather was so good but it sure was hot at the bottom due to the mountains blocking out any breeze.

 

Mangawhai Heads Hike

A short while ago, I went on a day hike with my friends. The hike was only 2 hrs long but man oh man the weather was extremely hot (around 30 degrees Celsius) that day, with clear skies and no shade due to it being on the edge of the cliff.

We had only just started walking up the entrance for 10 mins and the guys already took off their tops due to the heat (they ended up with sunburns the next day). I wish I could’ve taken mine off too but it would have been inappropriate haha.

Even though we ran out of water (we were so dehydrated from sweating non stop) and had to stop ¾ of the way, the views we saw were amazing. It felt like I was on the edge of NZ (we pretty much were). Below are a few photos I took before we made our way back to eat fresh strawberry ice cream.

It’s a short walk down the beach before you reach a sign indicating the trail. This hike passes through private property so you can see private farmlands and properties as well. The hike itself is of moderate difficulty with quite a few stairs and uphill slopes. Be prepared with sunscreen (a must in NZ summers), lots of water, a hat that provides good coverage and comfortable walking shoes. Remember to actually put sunscreen on in all areas of your skin that will be exposed to the sun! As the saying goes in NZ; slip, slop and slap.

I will definitely go back again with a huge bottle of water this time !

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