Sunday, September 16, 2012

Taranaki Adventure

Wednesday of last week I set out from my daughter's home headed for the Mount Damper Falls.  But I took a back road and got distracted by churches and got to the main road around 11 am.  I thought it was a bit late to be heading off on a drive when I didn't know what the road was like or how long it would take, as I needed to be back by 3 pm to collect the little man from Day Care.  So I picked up my friend Bev and used her local knowledge to find a couple of churches I was interested in.

Thursday the weather was fine and clear and I was out the door and on the road early.  I was very strict with myself and didn't stop to take any photos no matter how tempted I was - and there were many temptations. 

 You don't see little one lane tunnels every day.   I don't, anyway.

Impressive road side waterfall.

I didn't take the mileage from my starting point but remembered when I was just north of Waitara and my destination was less than an hour and 67 kms from there.  But I wouldn't say it was an easy drive.  Although the road was sealed most of the way it was a bit of a challenge, very narrow and very twisty.  I just hoped that anyone coming towards me would be travelling as slow as I was - and that I wouldn't have to be the one to reverse to allow us to pass.

 I can't remember how I heard about the Mount Damper Falls but I thought they were the second highest in New Zealand and therefore were a must see for me.  I was wrong about that, but they are one of the highest in the North Island (74 metres). I don't think many people have them as high on their Places to See list as I did, the car park wouldn't have accommodated too many visitors.  The other vehicle here beside my daughter's is a Dept of Conservation vehicle with dog box for a Conservation Dog on the back.  There was another one just inside the gate with a trailer which I guess would have transported a quad bike.  

The walk starts across open farm land.  A little footbridge leads from the farm, across a little stream into the bush.  This little stream feeds the falls - hard to believe.

The walking path on the other side of the bridge was well maintained and the walk was easy going.


with little baby waterfalls beside the track.  


The track follows the path of the creek, the sound of it keeps you company and there are occasional glimpses of rushing water as the path goes down a little more steeply. 

And then I came to the steps - and on my first step down I felt that old familiar twinge in my knee.  But I figured I'd travelled too far and already walked too far by that stage to turn back so down I went, one step at a time, telling myself there was no hurry - and no other soul around to see my crippled hobble. 

And it was worth it.

 The little rainbow playing in the spray at the bottom of the falls was a lovely bonus. 

And there was another bonus, too.  I was doing some heavy breathing as I was going back up the steps in my slow one step at a time fashion and decided to stop and just sit there for a while.  I could no longer see the fall but the sound of it was peaceful and I was enjoying my moment just listening to it and looking up at the sky through the trees.  Then I heard another trickling of water. When I carried on, I looked carefully for tracks going to the left towards the other water sound.  I eventually found one but it was for the young and very sure footed, I didn't feel sure enough of my balance to do more than creep forward on my bottom.

Sorry about the funny angle but I didn't figure it was worth putting my life at risk to get a straight shot.  I was trying to see how far it dropped - and by then I was inching forward on my tummy. 

If ever you are in Taranaki and have a few hours to spare, I highly recommend you leave the beaten track and head inland on Okau Road.  It's well worth the trip.


  1. Very impressive. I love the first image.

  2. Oh, well done Pauline, you brought to the waterfalls, and glorious they are.

  3. these are Great Pauline, made me feel like I was on the walk with you. you do realize that in a couple of weeks the FSO topic is moving water (water in Motion - sorry) hope you find more ...
    that road cut0out looks like very deep volcanic ash....

  4. I can almost hear the sound when looking at these photos!

  5. What a beautiful sight. I am sorry Pauline, but the mental image of you inching along on your tummy to get a shot of the waterfall made me laugh!

  6. My Tonga student doesn't know what a Ponga tree is.

  7. The first photo: wonderfully set up!
    I love it, and the little waterfall too!

  8. You really seek and find the Good Things to experience and photograph. I might well be tempted.


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