Last week we jumped in the car for a trip to Fairy Falls with a side trip to the Arataki Visitor Center. We stopped at the visitor center first as it was on the way and were pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. The center is actually the introduction and front door to the thirty-nine thousand plus acres of rainforest, coastline and tramping tracks of the Waitakeri Ranges and provides detailed information on plant and animal life in the forest as well as its history. That history includes the Maori’s; who include the forest as part of their family and carved the totem that greeted us when we arrived.
Did you know that Sir Edmund Hillary has a tramping track named after him here as well? It starts here at the visitor center and takes four days to complete through challenging conditions. Hillary himself used to tramp in the area in preparation for his expeditions so you know this track is no joke or as I read somewhere; it’s not a walk in the park. Here’s a little something I found that puts it into greater perspective.
Edmund Hilary Trek Profile
We continued on to Fairy Falls to check out the cascading waterfalls. The track is almost two miles long/ or 3.2 kilometers. The km’s sound like more though, don’t they? It’s a beautiful quiet fern forest with the occasional jogger or others trekking past. It’s incredible how green it is there. Plants growing on top of other plants everywhere.
The walk was not too bad on the way in, although I am beginning to detect a theme with waterfalls in that the way to them always starts out nice and easy and slopes downward until arriving at the beginning of the falls. Then it’s all stairs, and some gorgeous views.
We arrived at the bottom of the falls to an idyllic scene of children running naked around the lowest pool. I did not take their picture.
After a suitable amount of time spent poking around the bottom of the falls and sticking our feet in, it was bound to happen. We had to begin the climb back up to the top. Did I say there were a lot of stairs?
I must say I found a lot of interesting things to photograph on the way up. There’s so much more time to look around when you’re trying to catch your breath and calm a pounding heart.
We did eventually make it back to civilization and a bathroom, but we carried a special bit of soreness to remind us of the falls the next day.