Jess is a Wanderer returned to Hawkes’ Bay tallest waterfall because it’s that amazing and absolutely worth a detour, a special visit or even without a reason at all. A must-see destination.
The sign in the carpark says the walk takes two hours return. The sign lies. Without much effort at all, you can reach the halfway mark in forty minutes. Walk quickly and you’ll do it in thirty. If you’re a bit nuts and you’ve left your camera and laptop with a little old lady and her dog in the carpark, you can run it in twenty…
Jess is a Wanderer defied all warnings and climbed over fences in order to access perilous Omanawa Falls.
Omanawa Falls are found outside Tauranga. Located before the turn-off for McLaren Falls, you’ll see the other curious trampers parked up in their cars and make-shift camper-vans dotted on the side of the road. Perhaps you’ll speak to some fellow travellers and ask of their success or failure in getting down behind the falls. We met some chaps who had decided not to venture down due to the slippery conditions, nonetheless, this didn’t deter us.
Once at the viewpoint for the falls, there are two options for getting down. The first is to venture down these slippery steps through this door which leads into a pitch black tunnel with water racing past on both sides. The entire descent is done in darkness. The day we visited, this door was locked so we had to take the more adventurous route.
Sliding down slippery mud-banks, climbing down tree roots and rickety old ladders, we hiked the 2km journey and finally arrived at the bottom of this highly-revered waterfall. Spectacular doesn’t cover it. To get behind the water, we had to do a bit of waist-deep wading through the freezing water but it was all fine in the end.
I have to say that there were parts of the hike that did feel unsafe and that the warnings in place are absolutely justified as it certainly isn’t an easy feat. Someone had become very seriously injured just days before our visit and that added a sense of unease but it was certainly worth the adventure. Also, we were part of a group of around twelve people so we figured that we’d have enough people around to suggest turning back if it was decided to be too dangerous.
Jess is a Wanderer arrived at Matapouri Beach where the beginning of the hike to Mermaid Pools begins. The signs warn of the unformed track and steep descents. They also recommend you continue at your own risk. I’m not sure why, but it was at this point I decided that I didn’t need any shoes.
The hike involves a stroll along the beach and then either swimming/wading through the sea or painfully scrambling over rocks to get around the ‘corner’ and beginning the descent. If it’s been raining at all in the last 24 hours then it’s certainly going to be tricky.
The path is super muddy and a rope is in place to help with pulling yourself up or letting yourself down – however, you’ll also be relying on tree branches and vines to get up and down.
Once you arrive at the pools, they’re kind of busy – one of the busiest places I’ve seen so far. That was a bit of a disappointment but it was a cool place to be nonetheless.
The waves coming into the pools are huge and there are warnings of people being washed away – take care and keep an eye out for the big waves crashing in!!
There’s also a cute old armchair which has been placed on top of the rocks so you can get some quirky photos there. All in all, well worth the slippery-sliding effort. But wear shoes.
Jess is a Wanderer was back in Whangarei staying out in the wop wops (Kiwi name for ‘the sticks’ or the back of beyond or the middle of nowhere…
Having settled into the lovely Airbnb accommodation with my new comrades (I’ve just taken on a volunteering job with event company XRACE) – there are eight of us who will all be travelling together for the next six weeks.
We have thirteen events to run and a whole lot of fun ahead. Day one involved some trampolining, some beaching and a visit to Mangere Falls. No-one really knows about these falls because they’re located on private land and, well, out in the wop wops!
Here’s some pics from these mysterious falls. Oh, and there’s a tiny chapel overlooking them too. A fascinating find if ever there was one.
Jess is a Wanderer decided to take on the challenge of the Cape Brett Track. A 16.3km hike from Oke Bay to the Cape Brett DOC (Department of Conservation) Hut at the end of the peninsula. The weather was forecast to be lovely and the views promised to be amazing. What could possibly go wrong?
The first mistake I made was by getting over-excited at seeing the words ‘Cape Brett Track’ on a sign and immediately pulling over, parking the car and setting off. What I didn’t realise was that I was at the Whangamumu Track which was an extra 5km to the Cape Brett Track…
Nonetheless, it didn’t really matter at the time, what’s an extra few steps. The view was lovely, the trail was challenging and I was having a genuinely enjoyable time.
I decided to stop off at Deep Water Cove for a swim because I was so hot. I had the beach all to myself and it only added on an extra 1.5km to the journey. The uphill climb back to the track from the beach was a bit of a killer but I was in no rush so it really didn’t matter.
Arriving at the Lighthouse, I was suddenly very tired. I had been walking for more than six hours and for more than 20km. I’d booked to stay at the Cape Brett Hut (a serviced hut for $15 a night).
Unfortunately, at this time, the wind also started to get up and I’m not joking, I thought the hut was going to take off and end up in the sea somewhere. The windows didn’t close properly and the doors were banging like crazy. I genuinely felt like I was in a hurricane. I checked the weather report to see that a gale warning had been announced for exactly where I was. Being so exposed, there was no escape. Nor any sleep to be had due to the relentless banging, thumping and general freezing conditions.
I was also completely unprepared because I hadn’t taken any bedding with me – only the recommended food and water. The hut didn’t have electricity but candles would have been useless anyway due to the storm force winds blowing in!!
I managed to stay until 5am when I decided it was light enough to try and venture back. The recommended walking time is eight hours, I crawled, ran, scrambled and eventually made it back in 4 hours and 15 minutes before the storm properly hit and the rain certainly came down! I’m going to pay for that tomorrow.
Do I recommend the trail? Absolutely. Should you double, triple check the weather? Definitely. Does it pay to ask locals about what’s needed for an overnight stay in a DOC hut? 100% yes. Oh well, we live and we learn!
Jess is a Wanderer arrived into Waitangi for the annual February 6th celebrations. This is New Zealand\’s \’national day\’ and often referred to as the day the country was founded. Though somewhat controversial, it\’s an enjoyable day where all aspects of Maori culture and traditions are celebrated. There\’s also a ceremony by the Royal Navy to reenact the singing of the treaty between Maori and the British way back in 1840. Fun for all the family, beautiful views over the ocean and a whole lot of entertainment, it\’s well worth a visit.
Here are the highlights. You can see more photos here.