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Whangarei Falls and Surrounding Area – Day 10
Wednesday 6th April 2005
A trip to Whangarei was on the cards today, as well as a bit of sightseeing along the way. My goal was to see the Whangarei Falls, but I wasn’t really sure it was what I was expecting.
I managed to sleep quite well throughout the night, although I hadn’t planned on waking up on my backside, which is exactly what I had done. The thud as I hit the floor after falling out of the bed was enough to bring me out of my slumber, and it took a while to recognise where I was. It was all very surreal for a moment.
With reality firmly regained, I set about starting the day, and I was showered and dressed before too long. This hostel is well worth the visit, as it is stunningly located, and the people are as friendly as you could imagine. As I left the hostel I spoke to the lady owner, and had a nice little chat before setting off in my car. I asked her about the crashing sound we had all heard a couple of nights ago, and she explained that one of the nearby trees had fallen, not far missing the side of their house near the hostel.
I said my goodbyes and left Orewa in search of Whangarei, but took a couple of stops along the way. My first stop was Goat Island and to a campsite that I wanted to stay in, but was greeted by an eerie silence, almost like a ghost town as the place was completely deserted. There were a number of tepees scattered about the vast field, and the main office was open, yet there was nobody to be seen. Its a shame as it looked like it could have been quite fun, but nonetheless I decided to move on.
I also stopped by the marine in the area and had a bit of lunch before continuing onto Whangarei. I took the mountain route and it proved to be a lot of fun as I twisted and turned round seemingly impossible bends in the road. The car was up to the challenge if a little slow and lacking in power. I also had my first taste of the typical gravel roads, as well as the straight roads that stretched as far as the eye could see in one straight line. It was all very much fun, and I couldn’t help but stick my head out of the window and shout at the top of my voice.
At one point I came into an open expanse of land with rolling green hills all about, and large, flat fields that stretched to the mountains off in the distance. One field that hugged the side of the road I was travelling on contained a herd of cows. Feeling liberated and slightly silly at this point, I decided to stop my car on the roadside by the fence forming the perimeter of the enclosed cows. I wound my window down and screamed “Moooo” at the cows, over and over, louder and louder. My silly act received no more than a glance from the unimpressed herd, but it certainly made me chuckle to myself as I sat grinning like a child with my head out the car window. The imminent arrival of another car prompted me to take my leave and venture onwards towards Whangarei, still giggling as I drove on.
Having had my fill of the wonderful scenery dominating the landscape in this part of the country, I eventually wound up in Whangarei at a place called Whangarei Falls Backpackers. I was out of luck in terms of the accommodation that was available to me at this point in the day, and had to settle for the only room that was left. At 40 dollars I was hoping for something good, and I was told it was a family room, so it should be OK. When I turned the key in the lock and opened the door to my accommodation for the night I was very impressed. It was simply amazing, absolute luxury. It was like a holiday chalet with a double bed and my own kitchen, fitted with appliances. I was in heaven yet again.
I used the rest of the day wisely and visited the nearby Whangarei Falls, another side trip on my New Zealand adventure so far. It was a waterfall set in beautiful surroundings, and there was a walkway that you could follow from atop the falls, and down to the bottom into the valley and along the river. It was possibly as picturesque as a waterfall could be, and the perfectly-placed picnic table sat right at the base of the falls, away from the spray, was very inviting. I had to wait for a couple of walkers to finish their lunch and be on their way again before I could occupy the seats and take in the serenity and beauty that surrounded me.
I had to summon up the energy to pick myself up from the picnic table, and I am quite heavy, but I had the strength necessary to do the job, then I was on my way to begin the walk along the river.
I have to say that I was extremely disappointed with this part of the day. I was in an incredible place, and enjoying the scenery immensely, but had to turn a blind eye to all the litter and graffiti that was in abundance throughout the walk. Pathways were lined with food packets and bags, paper and food scraps. Foul language was printed on any available surface, on the fences and the walls, with sprayed paint occupying any untouched spaces. Rope swings hung from trees along parts of the river where the water was deepest, and kids on their bikes raced up and down the pathway, forcing walkers to step aside repeatedly without so much as a thank you. It all took away much of the positive feeling that I experienced at the start of the walk, and now it just resembled a run-down and dirty part of town, much like back home in England. This is a beautiful place heavily spoilt by the hand of mankind. I guess there aren’t many places completely untouched by mans disgusting ways.
I met a nice couple on a walk with their baby, and chatted for a bit, swapping advice, then bumped into them later on as well. I took a photo for them then we parted company and went our separate ways. They walked in the direction of the waterfall, I was happy to continue in the opposite direction away from the falls, and to my car.
I went into town later in the evening for something to eat for dinner, then headed back to my spacious abode where the meal was lovingly prepared and devoured in minutes. I was looking forward to a nice sleep in my double bed tonight, and it wasn’t too long after my hearty meal of tinned spaghetti that I began to get ready for bed. I was out like a light the moment my head made contact with the pillow, and I didn’t wake until morning.
Today was a great day with many positives. The few negatives that tainted parts of day were soon forgotten as I reflected on a busy day in Whangarei.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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