Wild Wairere Falls…

Wild Wairere Falls…

The Wairere Falls are really dramatic with-out lots of water rushing over being the highest falls in the Port Island but given all the rain from a previous dumping as well as a tail end of a tropical storm in this case the flow really starts to thunder over the ledge.

The next rain squad was bearing down and just managed to get the water in focus before the misty thing happened again. That was lucky…!

As there was no real colour with-in the image it made sense to just convert totally to black and white…much better contrast on the water as well.

As usual prints are available with-out the watermark…check the products and pricing page or just give me a shout out…cheers.


Owharoa falls…

Owharoa falls…

These have to be one of the most photographed falls in the Bay of Plenty/Coromandel by far. Having said that makes a different composition all the more hard so left out the rocks and went for a nice flowering piece of herbage…
5061owharo falls weeds web by M Handley.

Stairway to paradise…

Stairway to paradise…

These are the bottom falls at Kaiate road and are easily got to from Tauranga thru Welcome Bay . So good to see a young family group getting out and about wandering about rather then just go to the mall…

I cannot sell this as a print as the people in the image could be recognised…

9480kaiate falls group web#03 crop by M Handley.

But this one i can…because its a selfie.

Or you can have one with nobody in the frame…

9442kaiate falls selfie web#04 crop by M Handley.

Across the Kaimais …

Across the Kaimais …

A long story short ...

The idea to tramp across the Kaimai ranges  just happened to come pass really quickly after checking out a topo 50 map of our neighbourhood . The Wairere Falls seemed a really interesting feature  being the highest falls in the north island as a goal but it did take some calculations as to how long it would actually take to tramp to make sure we could do it in a day . It does help a little that at the start of most tramp tracks there is a time indication as to how long travel times are generally but sometimes not totally reliable . This time it was - 6 hours . 

Before we even pull on any boots the basic preparations are always done - weather , the right maps , plenty of food and water , wet weather gear as weather does change , basic first aid stuff including emergency blankets , torches etc . 

To enlarge any image just mouse click on it . Featured images are at the bottom of the page . 

Every-one who heads out into the bush must always let a contact know what and where you are going . Check the bush rules on any DOC site . Over prepareing  is not a bad thing . 

As a rule we have a Topo 50 map which are easily obtained from outdoor shops such as Bivoac or Hunting and Fishing etc . Also i have a hiking  app based on the Topo 5o maps with gps on my iPhone which have found to be really accurate even with no cell coverage [ ihikeGPS NZ ] . Very handy for making sure you are on the right track . The next item on the agenda is a personal locator beacon . 

For this hike we started at whats called "the blade" by the locals . Its at the end of Whakamarama road [ half way from Tauranga to Katikati up the hill ] and gets you part way into the bush and some really interesting tracks lead from here .Its called the blade because years ago a bulldozer blade was left there for yonks until some-one stole it for scrap . There is a movement afoot to replace it .  There is lots of tram trails from the early logging days up there which makes for  a easy hiking base which are just awesome to walk if you have some hours to kill . Easy ... 

The one we travelled is called the  Ngamarama Track which is part of the original "over the ranges" track called the Te Tuhi . It intersects the old tramways occasionally and easy to tell with the big cuttings thru some banks . Some pix to the right . All the images on the right i used a iPhone so as to get some illustrative shots for the story . 

As tracks go it was not showing much use at all . No crowds here . In fact we saw only one person all the time and it was on this track . But like all DOC tracks the orange triangles marked the way and that was a good thing as the grasses were getting a bit high . You have to watch where you put your feet . 

Talking about grasses the seed heads of one type  [ the name escapes me ] are really nasty . If you are a hairy male they really grab as you walk past . My gators weren"t that much use as when you brush past a bank they grab your arm hairs . Ouch ... Makes for some seed pulling from ya socks after-wards ! 

Lunch at the junction of Ngamarama and the North South track . Yum ...

From here we followed the north-south track northwards . There are no bridges as per the more used DOC trails  . Good tramping boots really are a very good idea . So is gore-tex ...take my word for it !... No wet feet ! 

The terrain is really gentle but to keep to some sort of time-table you need to move along just in case . Just awesome to see some big Kauri trees - see pix to the side  . 

 Next way point is joining the Wairere track itself and following the Wairere  stream to the falls  .

The falls themselves are preceded by the chatter of groups of sight-seers . Bum . It is really pleasant to be walking with-out anybody around . Really quiet ... so nice ! 

Its taken 6 hours to get to this point with breaks . Not bad . 

The feature images from the falls are at the bottom . 

The track down to the carpark and our handy family taxi service is a bit steep to say the least . Probably harder than the tramp along the top . Especially with most of  the  camera gear ! 

The path is not really formed - just well compacted over time around the rocks making its own pathway . The steeper bit has a wooden stair system . The stream at the bottom makes for some really good swimming holes and being a tad warm were well used . 

Some-how these wanders keep coming up . I only do tramps that lead me to a interesting place or some-thing worth photographing as a goal . A sort of destination thing ...

A word to the wise . Make sure you prepare with good equipment , plan ahead and know where you are as well as some-one else knowing where you plan to be at certain times . People have been lost on the same track and needed helicopter rescue . Partly why i have a blue camera bag . You can see it from the air ...

If any-one wants more info get in touch ...

Happy wandering .

Homunga Bay travel-bite … short and sharp

Homunga Bay travel-bite … short and sharp

I came across a comment about this bay on the coast north of Waihi beach that had a small waterfall on the beach  . Really ??
Now that is not something every white sandy beach has on tap . Imagine a swim in the pacific and a refreshing although chilly perhaps shower afterwards on tap … so to speak .
Uncle Google provided some basic directions for a start but the Doc website was providing good info about how to get there . A nice hike of about 3 hours from Waihi beach or a shorter route of approx 45 mins from a road end down a steepish track . The shorter track starts from the end of Ngatitangata Road which is accessed from Waihi township . Auntie Google maps is good or your gps .

The track down got the tick as a easy get to  route . This is a short walk along a farm track to the entrance gate from the sign-posted road end entry point with the good old style to get over the fence … typical kiwi .A gate and sign sets you down the farm access way with electric fencing on both sides . Don”t tempt fate by touching the insulated wires … and it gets a bit steep so watch ya footing .

2015-09-13 14.32.02 copy by .

Entrance way to Homunga Bay track

The views from the track down will keep you looking out … just awesome .

2015-09-13 14.07.52 copy by .

Would make a good house site methinks …

2015-09-13 13.57.17 copy by .

Humunga bay farm track – watch the electric fence

The track after the farm takes a short run thru some bush just to remind ya you are in doc country … follow the orange discs .

2015-09-13 13.47.56 copy by .

Bush walk to Humunga Bay

You now approach the Bay itself and the sound of surf on the beach . Just awesome …

This waterfall you have come so far to see is on the right as you hit the sand . Hopefully it is running and the weather is not to dry . It was a decent flow at the start of spring when these pix were made but would assume a dry spell would slow it a tad .

1565 hdr homunga bay waterfall web by M Handley.

The Homunga Bay waterfall

1573waterfall homunga bay blur web by M Handley.

The falls

1574 selfie waterfall web#02 by M Handley.

1579rocks homunga bay web by M Handley.

Rocks in the surf at Homunga Bay


Although the walk down is 45 mins or so … the haul back up is a far different story . Be prepared for the climb ! You need some decent fitness to do it especially if you have a back-pack with weight or left-over food etc .Or the other option is to walk in from the northern end of Waihi beach which is about 3 hours one way return [ 6 hours walking ]  making for a really good day out especially with longer days with day-light saving time .

Which ever you do the place is just awesome …

To view images large just click on them .

Images with the watermark are available printed on canvas or fine art and framed [ with-out the mark ] . Please enquire …



Falls at Waitawheta hut …

Falls at Waitawheta hut …

One of the hiking trails in the Kaimai-Mamaku forest park in the Bay of Plenty takes you to the DOC hut at Waitawheta which from the northern end follows a old tramway track that used to carry Kauri timber cut down from the surrounding forest . The tracks and some gear can still be seen today .Our hike started from the end of Franklin road and as we were on the old tramway it was really a easy walk , the new suspension bridges make for dry feet except for one crossing and there is a detour available although it would be a bit sticky in the wet .

At one point there is a bogey set up as a demo of how the tramway would have worked back in the milling days .

The end of this section is marked by a small bridge over a small waterfall taking you to the hut  . These falls have been given the shall we say “nick-name” of  the toilet bowl falls , coming from the obvious similarity . Its a bit mean really because they are rather unique in their formation .

This image was made from the narrow walking bridge that transverses the stream on the way to the hut . The hut itself is regarded as the “Hilton” of DOC huts at the time of its construction . It is sited where the original logging mill cook house was operating hence the steel bogey wheels in the grass .

0190 toilet bowl falls web #01 by M Handley.

0207 waitewheta hut web #02 by M Handley.

0199 bogey at hut web_ by M Handley.