Written by Janice Eland (first time tramper)

January 13 2019 Aongatete – Wairere Falls

Being my first long tramp, I was looking forward to the challenge but also looking forward to meeting new people. Both a success. What a great bunch of people. Mixed abilities and so welcoming to new comers.

Starting with a toilet run and can gladly say it was clean + a bonus of running water, the small things in life. The weather was cooler than the previous day so ideal tramping conditions.

First sign at Aongatete Loop track – 6 hours to Wairere falls. And we all set off in good spirits. Walking though the lovely bush with a slight incline, path way dry with only a few wet patches. We hit the first river crossing and we have a walker down, the lovely Jane takes a little dip, but the guys are to the rescue to assist. All good and we are off up a more steeper incline. After an hour in we have a sarnie (sandwich) and water break. The group stays together well, and we set a good pace. Walking along the riverside was just lovely and so peaceful walking though beauty of the bush. I was amazed that we didn’t see any other trampers but that’s the beauty of New Zealand.

Quick dip and a cooling of the feet at the next quick stop, what a spectacular dive from Ian. Nature at its best, such clear water surrounded by the bush.

We then begin the uphill, motivation is lunch and a nice view so onwards and upwards we go with Kathryn leading the way and Ian bringing up the rear. Bit of a climb but a good pace to make it comfortable. Few slippy bits and whoops we are a man down, good job Jane has a large bag to land on, she‘s a trooper and loves her tramping trips. We make it, a few tired legs but we are all in good spirits and ready for a feed. Having a lovely lunch and natter while taking in the views.

We then make our way through the bush with a bit more of an incline until we reach a nice long stretch to ease those legs off. Oh no we may have lost the driver, not at meeting point. Let’s have a break by the stream and leave a note. Moving on with only 20 minutes away from the falls we bump into our driver, Michiel, good we are not walking home.

Wow - now that’s a tall tree and a great picnic spot at the back of the falls (approx. 15 mins away)

We reach the top of the falls but not a lot of water as not so spectacular as I’ve seen before but still amazing views. Bit of a bite to eat and a snooze for Jane.

We start with the descent. Nice steady pace meeting lots of people on the way up. All looking forward to a dip at the bottom, bit of a muggy day so a cool swim will be appreciated. We stop at the viewing point for the falls, breathtaking! You can’t beat it.

Last leg and we pick up the pace to get to that cool water. Wow Wow Wow the water looks amazing. Tessa is the first in with no messing, quickly followed by Debbie. Me being a novice I need to take my boots off first. That felt amazing, what a great way to end a great walk with great company.