Don’t go chasing waterfalls before reading directions
route through private land and next to the Ryde Tramway, a sign of the area’s rich sawmilling history.
The second option was a 6km return trip on Wharfedale Track from the View Hill car park. We opted for the latter option.
‘‘I really can’t be bothered with actual exercise today,’’ we bleated.
After fuelling up on a service station breakfast bar, we sped out of Christchurch with optimistic talk of returning in time for a late lunch.
An online guide warned us the ford near the entrance would be difficult to cross by car but said it was only an 800-metre walk from there to the start of the track. Lies.
The first red flag should have been the sign to continue 4.2km uphill. The second was the winding, never-ending gravel track with no bush and certainly no waterfall. After an hour of walking we finally made it to the track entrance.
The path was hard slog and chilly, muddy and overgrown.
Two river crossings meant I quickly had slippery, blistering feet. My flatmate made light work of both, effortlessly bounding over the rocks.
About an hour in, down a short, sharp dip, we reached the waterfall. It truly was stunning. Freezing, smelling slightly of marijuana courtesy of some more liberal trampers, and slightly smaller than I expected, but stunning all the same.
The late afternoon sun was slipping away as we emerged from the bush.
We clocked up nearly 18km in five hours – slightly longer than the inand-out trip we planned.
We both agreed while it was worth the walk, next time we’d read the directions more carefully – and fill up on a hearty breakfast first.
Ryde Falls is truly amazing.