Wairere Falls after 30 years
As a teenager travelling from Te Aroha to Matamata my family would comment about the waterfall that could clearly be seen in the Kaimai Ranges.
My first physical contact with the area came when at Bible class camp at Okauia near Matamata.
One of the leaders had a truck with a deck and a group of us piled on the back and off to the falls we went. I remember even then being taken with the moss covered boulders, the stream with it’s many pools, and the green of the vegetation and the many tree roots. My group only did the lower part of the walk.
Thirty years were to elapse before I returned to the falls; this time with my daughter.
I still remember the hard labour of climbing up the Old Maori Trail to reach the top of the falls. The effort was worthwhile and the view of the Waikato plains glorious. I was intrigued by the very flat area at the top and could understand why those who left the path could easily be lost.
We kept the stream in view and found a very worn sign telling of the people - Maori, missionaries, and explorers who had used the trail to cross the Kaimai Ranges to Tauranga. I have looked for this sign since but never found it. Perhaps it has disappeared as has the deer hunter’s hut.
Over the years I have returned to the falls and taken advantage of the work DOC has done by putting in steps and staircases to make the climb so much easier. The platform half way up is great for taking photos of the falls and provides a welcome rest.
One Easter my son, granddaughter , grandson and I set out to go to the top of the falls.
Walking along with the young ones made one look with new eyes as they followed the stream, looking at the rocks and frothing water. The bridges were works of art in the way they curved around and Nikau Palms in particular were abundant.
The next section was the climb to the platform and the chance to photograph these spectacular falls. The climb continued passing through native forest.