NEW ZEALAND (9)

WHANGAREI

APRIL 2019

WHANGAREI FALLS

We were in the mood to pack our backpacks to go and explore more of the Northland … and why not go to the most northern city in New Zealand, namely Whangarei (the regional capital of the Northland Region)?

With our bus tickets booked and accommodation arranged in Whangarei, we went on a weekend trip.

Waiting for the bus in Orewa

Whangarei is about 162km from Auckland and the bus drive took just more than 3 hours.

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Our bus to Whangarei

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We stopped halfway to stretch our legs and enjoy a coffee

With not a cloud in sight, it was a very scenic route. We drove through some beautiful smaller towns on the way to Whangarei … and we loved the place names: Waiwera, Puhoi, Warkworth and Brynderwyn.

We arrived just after lunch in Whangarei. It is quite a small city and everything is basically walking distance. There are many museums, restaurants and café’s.

Our accommodation was in Quest Whangarei who serviced apartment style hotel rooms – a short walk away from the center of town.

Our spacious room in Quest Whangarei

After checking in, we went for a walk around town. You could tell the seasons were changing, autumn coloured leaves were everywhere – a beautiful sight.

Autumn colours were everywhere

Quayside is a popular place to relax and watch the boats from one of the many cafes. We had a late afternoon drink here before returning to one of the restaurants near our hotel where we enjoyed dinner.

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Walkways at Quayside where you will find plenty of restaurants and café’s

The next morning we packed our backpacks with water and snacks to hike to the famous Whangarei Falls.

On our way out, we heard bands playing and saw plenty of custom-made cars parked in the street – it appeared to be some sort of festival. We took a stroll to see some of the cars, but then headed out to the waterfront area – we are here to hike to the falls after all!

Custom-made cars on show outside our hotel

More cars

It was a sunny day and we were looking forward spending some time in nature. The Whangarei Falls is located just on the outskirts of Whangarei. We had quite some distance to cover – it was about 7km to the Falls (and we had to walk back again).

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Quayside – where you will find many yachts, surrounded by restaurants

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Walking over the river to start our trail

On our way to the start of the trail, we walked over several boardwalks.

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Boardwalks made hiking easy

The Whangarei Falls is a picturesque waterfall (especially in winter after heavy rainfall). It is falling vertically for 26.3 meters over basalt cliffs. There are a few viewing platforms and we were looking forward to see this.

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Most of the hike is done through forests near the river

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The Hatea River is on the hiking trail

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We saw a couple of bridges which can be used to cross the Hatea River

The high trees and fern-like type of plants are beautiful and some of them almost form an umbrella over you on the trail.

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Lovely  trees and ferns

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Once again, we saw the beautiful colours of autumn

On the trail, we had to walk over a suspension bridge … and me (being afraid of heights and getting motion sickness) crossed this one very quickly!

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Suspension bridge on the hiking trail

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Just a quick photo, before I rushed to the other end

It was a really great walk, even when we had to walk part of the trail next to a road, before we entered the forest again. I’m of the opinion we have made the trail maybe a bit longer than it was supposed to be … but it was nonetheless a very tranquil walk next to the river.

At some places, it looked like a magic forest

We could hear the waterfall long before we could see it. And then, as we came around a corner, we could see the Falls through the trees.

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There it is … the Whangarei Falls

Apparently it’s pretty dry in this part of the country at the moment and there isn’t as much water at the falls as usual, but it was still a beautiful sight.

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Whangarei Falls (pronounced “FAHNG-uh-ray”)

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Berto is getting a bit closer to the falls

We followed the trail up to the lookout point to see the waterfall from above – it was quite a steep climb, but worth it.

The falls, as seen from the lookout point

Once we got to the bottom of the falls again, we found a nice spot to sit down to enjoy some fruit and sandwiches. As always, we enjoyed the smell and serenity of nature.

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A duck came very close to also enjoy some of our snacks

After about an hour, we followed the trail back from where we came earlier. Which of course meant we had to cross that suspension bridge again.

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Yep, at that suspension bridge again

On the way back we decided to walk through the AH Reed Kauri Park – we would definitely recommend this route. There is a great short walk around the loop track from where we could see Kauri trees. The skywalk was built to protect the fauna and flora and it was amazing to walk among these massive trees.

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Great walkways between high Kauri trees

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This was a wonderful experience

It was already late afternoon, when we got back from where we started the trail earlier that morning. As we left the forest, I saw this image of a fallen tree …

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A perfect pattern at the bottom of a fallen tree

And, once again, we ended our day with a last stroll through beautiful autumn colours – this must be my favourite season!

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Beautiful autumn colours

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Just splendid

We were quite exhausted when we got back to our hotel room, but it was a really great walk!

Our bus back to Whangaparaoa left early the next morning – we were very happy that we decided to explore this part of New Zealand.

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