We LOVED the hike to see this waterfall. Wairere Falls are the North Island’s highest falls, but not at all a touristy experience. We passed only a handful of people (mostly speedily climbing local exercisers who passed us on their way up and then again on their way down — as we progressed more slowly upward). The falls themselves are a lovely site, but I especially enjoyed the green, green, green surroundings and drinking the cool fresh water from the boulder strewn stream. Grace and Max particularly enjoyed finding walking sticks and eating apples before we headed back down (we woke Max up from his hiking backpack nap so he didn’t miss the falls — he seemed only moderately impressed before falling back to sleep).
I love it here. Even if we didn’t take showers for three days (we needed to save water for drinking, cooking, washing dishes, and flushing) and had a very full and fairly stinky toilet by the end. We were the only van around, had three gorgeous cove beaches to ourselves, and woke to the sound of the waves. I’ve never seen a beach surrounded by such green rolling hills — a truly gorgeous aesthetic. Grace loved collecting and organizing shells and Max embraced naked splashing in the waves and gathering sticks.
Today we saw the Tasman Sea meet the Pacific Ocean at Cape Reinga/Te Rerenga Wairua, where the Maori believe the spirits of the dead enter the underworld. We learned that Grace likes to stop and have us read every single informational board or plaque when we’re visiting a new place. And we observed crazy people sandboarding headfirst down the massive Te Paki Dunes (we stuck to walking, sitting, and rolling on the lower ones). It was a pretty busy day!
Every day has been an adventure in the camper van, and we’re barely paying attention to what day it is, but we realized on our blustery walk along the beach today that it’s Monday!
We’re staying at a very mellow and small camp site that overlooks the Tasman Sea, and I think it’s been my favorite stop so far. It feels like the reason we’re camper vanning — to stop at slightly more remote locations with lovely views and just get out and wander. It was very windy and generally overcast today, my favorite weather for walking. Other than a few 4WD cars/trucks speeding past on the sand, we were the only people for the entire 2.5-hour walk. I loved the grey-blue light, the taste of salt on my lips, and Grace’s sweaty little hand in mine as we walked into the wind.