Monday, March 31, 2014

Tarawera Falls Walk

Today dawned beautiful again!

I was the only one in the camp last night and the stars were just beautiful and the peace and quiet was fantastic. Nothing against happy children but when they are gone and all you can hear are the Bellbirds, the occasional trout splashing and not much else it is quite remarkable. Though the Bellbirds are very loud. 

So after breakfast I headed off down to the Tarawera Falls, a walk of about 3.5km. Mainly following the river but eventually the river heads underground about 300m from the falls. From what I found out the river follows fractures in the  volcanic lava field that flowed from Mt Tarawera. The river then appears 1/2 way down the cliff face. It appears from three different fissures and although not that high, the fact that it appears from the face of the cliff is amazing. In the last eruption of Mt Tarawera when the exit to the lake was blocked for a while and  the lake overflowed and broke the dam and at that point the river ran over the top of the cliff for a while. The lake level was raised about 2 metres.

Here are some pictures of the walk.

The river disappears in three places and the first is at the base of a large waterfall

From there about 90% of the water heads underground. What is left then heads downstream for a while and then heads into a hole…

and the remainder disappears down a cleft in the rock….


We then wander along a while and actually hear the river running underground, quite eerie but awesome.

Then you end up at a point where you realise that you are hundreds of meters high up on the cliffs. Quite weird suddenly being that high without realising it. You are not aware of how high you climb to get to the lake itself.

Then you climb down for a while and you arrive at the falls proper. WOW.

I spent some time just looking there…..

I then wandered down to the carpark, about another 15-20 mins and used the lovely composting toilet courtesy of DoC and headed back up the hill towards the lake outlet again.

So from there I headed into the river for a swim and oh how refreshing was that!

I packed up slowly and headed out towards Rotorua, where I am currently at the Stock Car Track for the evening with three other vehicles.