Today we woke up at the Karekare falls, we already visited this beauty last night. But early in the morning in broad daylight it’s from the same beauty as last night. We got here early so we got the fall for ourselves (oh so sellfish hehe ? ), and plenty of time to swim, take photos. Love it when a waterfall is that close to the road from these kind of beauty. Ok it’s no Shine falls. But this is 90% of the same beautyness. There is not a real carpark next to the waterfall, but a wider turn in the road makes space for 3 cars parking near the entrance. Other cars can park at the parking for Karekare beach access.
Walking to the falls is quite easy, although it has some stairs, so not everyone can visit here. But even from the start of the track you will have a magnificent view. Walking the track brings you first around a lower pool, with a small waterfall. But it’s not connected to the Karekare fall I think. Didn’t explore it actually. Was way too excited for the big brother of this one. So, we wandered over the track and in 5 minutes you’re there!
Once arrived at the base you can continue the track to the upper part off the falls till a viewpoint at approx. 200m high. You can even swim there in some sort of natural pool. But first the pool at the base of the fall. Nice morning showers they have here in New Zealand. At this time, I understand why the sound of this fall is so smooth. It’s flowing over the rock and it’s following the rocks and all these rocks are covered with moss and ferns where the water is flowing through. You gotta hear it to believe it. Think that’s the reason why I wanted to return this morning and see the fall by daylight, unravel the mystery of the smooth sound! 😀 The fall is approx. 30m high so not the highest fall there is, but it’s still one of my favorites I’ve seen in New Zealand.
Too bad I came across the following message because of the dieback disease I mentioned in my last post.
From 1 May 2018, the forested areas of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park will be closed to prevent the spread of, and to protect against kauri dieback disease. Some tracks in the Hunua Ranges Regional Parks will also be closed.
After the fall we went to KareKare beach, and we already thought it would be a busy day, because of Anzac day. There was a memorial at the beach, there is a sign in the rock wall just after the lifeguards office. Beautiful spot for such a nice memorial. Lots of people where putting flowers here to honor the members of the Australian and New Zealand army corps.
We walked along the beach, and black sands just keeps being mystical, while compare to the beach from last night this one is gigantic. With small dunes, big rock walls even a small lake (but I thinks this is a leftover from high tide ?) The ceremonial part was kind of crowdy but the rest of the beach is so quit, loving it. Did you know they shot some scenes from the Piano film here?
From the beach you can choose to enter some walking tracks to enter the bush again, but that’s not the reason where going to the beach so we choose for a beach walk. After a while of wandering we decided to go back, and went along on our way back to Auckland.
Arataki Visitor Centre
My girlfriend still needed a present for her friends and the wedding. So we decided to enter the famous visitor center around Auckland called Arataki Visitor Centre. Why should you visit especially this one? Most people enter New Zealand through Auckland, and it provides a lot of information about nature, wildlife but also about Auckland and its history. They even have a kids corner, with really great things to do for the kids. They learn a lot about birdlife (native birds etc) and what is a weta (do you remember if from my posts I created earlier?) But the best part are the balcony viewpoints around the building with magnificent views over the area. And for when you got there, just watch at the bike stands they created, so lovely. This Visitor center they had an eye for details, really loved it.
My girlfriend found a real gift finally, a kiwi with a rotating head. Sounds scary but the head can do what a real kiwi does with his head also. Oh forgot to mention, this whole center is free! Unbelievable really…
Well because today was crowdy we thought let’s go to a remote area. Well guess what the Kiwi’s think the same! ? Our plan was to go to Whatipu beach. This is the most remote end of the Waitakere’s road-end beaches. But this is a beach with a story and a lot of history! Around 1800 they build an elevated railway along the shoreline and around the cliffs. The railway was running from Piha to Karekare and then to Whatipu. The railway was designed for carrying Kauri trees from the valleys to the wharf at Whatipu. But you have to use your imagination here a little, because the best part of this railway was that it is actually build against the cliffs and the different caves along here. Imagine 100 years ago there was no beach here only cliffs and the waves bashing against it. So all the dunes etc are from the years after.
Historical images from this railway I found at: http://mp.natlib.govt.nz
But the road to here is fun as well. Small gravel road with lots of
turns and elevation yeah! Gonna miss those roads here, back to the
straight highways from the Netherlands with a fun corner here and there…
Don’t want to think about it first enjoy the road to Whatipu beach!
We got lucky at the parking, because it was loaded with cars, lots of kiwi’s here to enjoy their day off. We decided to go to the beach first and then go inland to see some sea caves.
While wandering over the beach you see the remaining of the rails but there are a lot more interesting things to see. Look at this rock, isn’t it looking like 2 elephants headbanging each other?
Really loving it! The lighthouse wasn’t that beautiful, but we were interested in the fishing techniques used by the local fisherman here. So we chatted a little with them, they throw a net from the rocks and pull it back in and catch a lot of fish. They cut the small fish for bait and throw them back in the water to attract the bigger fish and when they see them they throw the net in the water. Really efficient, but is this still fun?
After a while we followed the track to inspect some caves, and boy a lot of small caves you can find here. The information sign at the carpark even informs you about a real wooden dancefloor in one of the bigger ones. Although its now buried under 5m of sand. The caves are not that deep, so everyone can access them, but bring a headlight, some of the bigger ones have some smaller rooms in the back. You dare to explore them!?
Somewhere in Auckland
We ended the day in a small harbor somewhere in Auckland. Nice place to sleep, let’s see what the sunrise will bring here. Goodnight and sleep well my friends.