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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Walking to the edge of the waterfall

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We made it !

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Picturesque

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Amazing View of our flat Waikato Plains

IMG_5509

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

 

Image

Kayak Noosa

Hi guys,

I’ve been back in Auckland for about two weeks now and I wanted to do a post on an activity I did during my holiday in Australia. We had booked a 2 hr sunset kayak tour with kayak noosa for $60. They also do hiring of kayaks and paddle boards if you’re keen to explore yourself. The guide also brings a camera with them on the tour, so you don’t have to worry about taking your own photos or risk ruining your expensive camera. They email you the photos a few days after which was very helpful.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kayak Noosa by the River

We met at their shop front at 3.30pm and lucky for us; there was just me, my partner and another lady who signed up for the day so we had plenty of time to relax and observe for wildlife with the guide. They give you a brief training session on how to change the tail direction and how to let up the sail (on our double kayaks) as well as how to use the paddles. So it’s great for beginners who aren’t very confident on a kayak.

img_5190

Before we set off

We paddled towards the mangroves and the guide pointed out to us some heron’s, crabs, stingrays, as well as other migratory birds and birds of prey. We got to see a kite dive for fish right by our kayak which was amazing to see. Our guide Tracey, was very knowledgable and helped explain a lot of what we saw. So if there is anything you wanted to know more about, don’t hesitate to ask them as they can probably answer!

img_5197

P2050031.JPG

In the mangroves

 

After a bit of paddling , we beached onto north heads where we relaxed and had a bit of afternoon tea provided by the guide. You can also go for a swim in the water but we stayed on the beach to chat to the guide. During the ride back, we propped up the sail to help us with our paddling because the wind was in our favour. It was great, we got to sit back and enjoy the sunset as we sailed back, feeling the warm water trickle through your fingers and enjoying all that’s happening around you on the river. I really enjoyed the trip, so props to Erica and Tracey for the great service!

P2050066.JPG

Jumping on the beach

P2050092.JPG

Kite diving for fish

P2050106.JPG

Sunset

-medlabgeek

 

Aside

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Hi all,

I’m currently in Australia on a little holiday before I start my next placement at Labplus. Boy is summer hot here! I’m constantly sticky and sweaty and require air con just to survive in this country. Other than the heat, I’m loving it in Aus ! Theres so much to do and the surroundings remind me of home yet feel so new and fresh at the same time. We flew to Brisbane and drove up to Noosa, where we are staying for 5 days before going back to Auckland.

One of the things I really wanted to do was cuddle a koala so it was a given that I had to visit the lone pine koala sanctuary. We bought our tickets online beforehand as it’s cheaper if you prebuy rather than purchase at the door. Even though we went on Monday, there were still a LOT of people so get in early if you want to get a photo of you cuddling a koala. It does cost extra for any animal held photos you want to take (they offer snake photo’s as well), at $18 / animal. Which is quite reasonable as you’re allowed to take as many photos on your own device as well as have a professional photo to keep (printed and free to download digitally). They do ask at the ticket counter if you want to pay $1 for a guide-book but you don’t really need it as there are plenty of maps available around the sanctuary and you can snap a photo of the show times which is shown right after you come out the entrance building.

Below are the photos of me while I held the koala and snake (yes I paid for both and excuse my nasty tan lines).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

They also have a lot of australian icon animals such as the wombat, platypus, dingo, kookaburra, kangaroo, and Tasmanian devil. So you can’t get more Australian than that! I absolutely loved it here because I felt like I was up close and personal with them. You can also pay $2 for a kangaroo feed pouch at the same store where you purchase photo tickets. There’s an open section full of kangaroos for you to freely pet and feed. If you don’t want to fork out the extra $2 then no worries! They are so used to human interaction that you can walk right up and take photos without having to feed them 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A mum and her joey!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

More photos of some other animals we encountered:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tasmanian Devil

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Snake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kookaburra

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

White crested sea eagle – raptor show

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sheep dogs at the show

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lizard


-medlabgeek

Huka Falls + Lava Glass Blowing Studio

This weekend was such great weather that I couldn’t resist making the most of it. No way was I going to stay indoors ! I decided to go have some prawns at Huka Prawn Park which is an hour’s drive from Rotorua. You can do more activities there such as prawn fishing and prawn feeding but we only stayed for a meal. The prawns are super juicy and fresh, it’s delicious! But if you’re not prepared to fork out some big money for the meal, I suggest you go eat somewhere else or bring your own food ! It cost us $50 for 500gm of prawns, and $20 for a prawn chowder. The view there is amazing though and you get to see all the people that line up for the Huka jet as well.

img_4418

Huka Prawn Park

IMG_4419.JPG

Lunch at Huka Prawn Park

After lunch, I drove down to Huka falls and the water there is just amazingly clear. Its very aqua blue and you can hear the roar of the rapids from the carpark. Its a very short walk to see the rapids and falls itself so its great for people who hate walking. Theres also tracks there (I saw a 2hr one) for people that enjoy tramping or mountain biking. It was very busy the day I went as it is a very popular destination.

img_4443

Huka Falls

img_4428

Huka Falls

On the drive towards Huka prawn park, the Lava Glass Studio caught my eye so I decided to make a pit stop there on my way back home. When you go in, there is a beautiful array of glass creations on sale which are very unique that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. They make great gifts and they also do free shipping to other countries if its too heavy/big for you to take back. Unforunately you aren’t allowed to take any photos in the studio so I couldn’t show you how beautiful they are. The guy who makes these creations is very popular and is often asked to make specific items on request. They also have a little cafe for you to enjoy a drink or some snacks. His wife handles the front of the studio and you can pay $5 to go into his workshop and watch how the lava glass is made. I thought that was very affordable and very interesting as it’s not something you get to see everyday. They are happy for you to take photos inside his workshop as well as the outdoor lava glass garden. The lava glass garden is $7.50 and if you want to see both its $10. They also give you a $5 discount on any purchase you make if you do pay to see either of these activities.

img_4429

Lava Glass Workshop

img_4432

Lava Cog Creation

The lava glass studio is quite small but it’s a nice walk to see the array of art that hes made. There were some beautiful flowers, spheres, trees, fish trap, mushrooms and lilypads all made from glass!

img_4433

img_4436

img_4438

img_4440

img_4442

There is just so much to do in Bay of Plenty with everything so close to each other, you feel like you want to do everything. This area of New Zealand is great for tourists and visitors so try and stop by this region for a few days if you can. It doesn’t lose the cultural festivity and traditions of New Zealand even though they thrive on tourism. You can still sense the amazing local community and witness the friendliness and kindheartedness that NZ is famous for.

-medlabgeek

White Water Rafting Okere Falls

A few days after New Years, I went on a road trip with some friends before driving back to Rotorua for work. We decided to all go white water rafting, which I was super keen to try because I’ve never done it before. Boy was I missing out! I loved it! I was really nervous beforehand because I knew we were going down a 7 metre waterfall which sounded hugeeee to me and I was scared of all these rapids on the river. But our guide Jamie was great and made everyone feel so hyped and ready to take on this challenge! The place we went to was called Rotorua Rafting (they are number 1 on trip advisor if you search rafting at Okere falls). I highly recommend this place ! It costs $85 pp but if you come with a group you get a discount. They do take some photos of you and you can see all of them before deciding if you want to purchase the photos which are $40 and given on a USB. If you come as a group like I did, you can split that cost and share the photos to each other so it would be even cheaper.

img_4382

We were given a quick intro on how to manoeuvre the paddles and what to do for certain commands and away we went. The rapids weren’t as bad as I thought and we even got to jump out the raft and slide down the rapids with our bodies lying flat on our backs! They gave us heaps of opportunities to experience the river and take some pit stops. We all got to climb up a mini cliff and jump off it into the river and swim towards our raft. Everyone had life jackets and a helmet on so I felt perfectly safe with them. They also had two solo kayaker’s that came along to help anyone if someone couldn’t swim or anything went awry. You can definitely tell that all the guides are very experienced on the river so you don’t feel like you’re in danger at all.

img_4384

I sat in the front with my friend but they all picked me to sit on the front of the raft and hold on to some ropes while they all sat on the back and paddled me through a mini waterfall and that was amazing! I made it through without falling but my “friends” pushed me off afterwards haha

img_4386

The guide also tries to paddle you head first into some rapids to experience the water pouring over you, I got to sit in the front and ended up literally sitting under a mini waterfall with the water pouring in front of me which was surreal! The whole trip took around 1.5 hours, we started at 4.30pm and it finished at 6 but after getting changed and looking at the photos before leaving, it was a good 2 hours. During good weather their last session is at 4.30 but during winter when the days are shorter, their last session is at 3. I recommend you book in advance as they are really busy. Even though we had 29 of us at the 4.30 session, we still had heaps of fun because all the groups were split off with their own guide and raft so we felt like we were still by ourselves.

img_4389

After having dinner, we all decided to relax. What better way to relax than a thermal spa 😀 We went to the infamous Polynesian spa in Rotorua which opens till 11pm and on a good night you can lie in the hot pools and look at the starry sky. I can honestly say that the pools there really do work wonders for you. My skin felt amazing after the soak. It was silky smooth and they had signs for each of the pools that tell you what they are generally used for such as aches and pains etc. The only downside is the smell of sulphur that gets into your hair so tie it up if you have long hair! (It still smelt after I washed it).

img_4390

img_4393

I can’t wait to go white water rafting again, maybe even try black water rafting in the future !

-medlabgeek