Photo Gallery - multiple photographers

A Sunday trip to Wairere Falls with a few interesting variations from our usual Wairere / Te Tuhi circuit – How many would turn up ?

Now add a) an early start; b) the change to daylight saying stealing an hour from the night before; c) heavy rain forecast; d) raining already

So - nine hardy souls took up the challenge to see Wairere Falls at its best with a huge quantity of water tumbling over the edge, and a real torrent of water rushing down the Wairere Stream.

Big Blue was abandoned at Greenlane as we piled into 2 cars, with a fuel stop on the way. Google Maps directing us on an unfamiliar “You are on the fastest route …” maze of roads to make up for lost time, and then a hurried gear up at the road end (it was raining). We spent the day as one group, with the original interesting variations, while not forgotten, certainly much less achievable because of the conditions.

Congratulations to the group who, having seen the falls from Goodwin Rd, then didn’t turn tail and head straight off for coffee at Te Aroha ! But no, off we set through the bush, to a series of three bridges over the tumultuous Wairere Stream. Then up the many wooden steps and onto the lookout for the Wow ! moment of the day – of course well forewarned by the sound of the roaring waterfall filling the valley.

And then we continued on up the increasingly muddy track to reach the junction at the Wairere Stream – the start of the marked track to the top of the falls was under water, but a well used deviation soon had us past that, and on to the lookout platform at the top of the falls. On other occasions of low flow, some people have hopped across the rocks over the stream, but no chance of that today as the huge volume of water poured relentlessly towards the edge.

Back to the junction in search for a dry and warm spot for a comfortable lunch stop – failed – but a lunch stop nevertheless, hurried, because in damp conditions with the wind starting to pick up it becomes quite cooling …

Then bravely onwards along the Wairere Track alongside the Wairere Stream – today perhaps we could more accurately call it the Wairere Wade, because so much of the track was under water – encouraging the group to follow alternate routes to one side or the other. One alternate route followed by the leader and some of the party involved some interesting off track travel – lovely bush, authentic pre explorer experience. Water wading – cold feet – cold people, and so on to the first intersection with the North South Track, in a huge tea coloured pond, with numerous pictures of Gareth beside the DOC sign. Encouragement to him to kneel down and pretend it was really deep for the camera clickers, but for some reason he was not keen…..

Further wading took us to the wonky bridge across the Wairere Stream – 5 people on the bridge decided to examine the worn sign … that said 1 person at a time … so some quick action then saw that complied with in preference to an unwelcome dunking in a swiftly moving deep green soup.

And so it was time to turn for home, and a speedy retreat was made to the welcoming vehicles and dry clothes, and time for a visit to the Ironique café in Te Aroha.

A pity about missing the promised interesting variations – the trip will be rerun at the end of February. Tony now has done a recce for Puketutu Hut, and completed it in 6.5 hours, so it is feasible as a day walk for a fit group.

Well done all – we were Tony (leader, scribe), Gareth (I’m bored), Suresh (bus driver without a bus), Sneiga, Matthew, Russell, Mark (Puketutu Hut or bust), Natalia and Bevan (official photographer).