Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Hawke's Bay's Most Spectacular Waterfall


Oh look! We're back where we started. Lake Tutira DOC Camp.

Well actually, we're not quite where we were last time. After our kerfuffle with the TV signal, we parked further forward away from the leaf coverage and now had a clear line direct to whichever satellite up there spends its life circling the earth keeping us roving travellers happy. Not that we needed TV in the end because we had visitors arrive for happy hour and stay on for dinner, and then we left Lake Tutira the next morning! 

My close girlfriend from high school and her partner live very near to Lake Tutira and they came over for a catch up; we had a great night, too many laughs and some of us a few too many wines- at least they didn't have far to go to get home. They were actually calling in on the night we headed back to Napier and passed us in the pouring rain, as they were heading home from Napier and we were heading south. 

We stayed on in Napier at NZMCA Ericksen Park for two nights after the ute was repaired, having another 'final' dinner, our third, with Mum & Dad before leaving the next morning. We headed back to Lake Tutira because we wanted to do one particular walk, one I've been wanting to do for as long as I can remember. A walk to the highest waterfall in Hawkes Bay. We had been going to do it the other day but instead headed to the south end of the Boundary Stream Sanctuary to find the Kaka. 

Shine Falls is at the northern end of Boundary Stream, a tough 6hr tramp end to end or 25km by road. Direct from Lake Tutira it's 20kms, the last 12kms are gravel, as we wind our way through high country Hawkes Bay.

The 4km, 1.5hr return walk starts at a stile near the DOC carpark and lunch shelter.

The first 500 metres or so cross through private farmland...

...where we pass huge limestone bluffs and narrow gullies. 

The track narrows and we follow it through a small section of Kanuka bush and the odd towering forest tree where I find these mushrooms.

Eventually we  reach the boundary of the reserve...

...and cross back into Boundary Stream.

We follow the track along the edge of a deep gully and far below we can hear the sound of rushing water, it actually sounds like a raging river but when we finally see the source of the sound, I think it must have been amplified a hundred times up the narrow walls or there's few more streams joining the main flow. 

Just before we reach the waterfall the tramping track to the other end of the reserve branches off, crossing the stream on this modern version of the swingbridge. I hope this is one off, I'd hate to see New Zealand's iconic swingbridges being replaced with these industrial looking bridges- entirely functional but with no character at all.

Just a little bit further on we catch sight of the top of the falls.

It's not long before we reach a small clearing where a couple of young tourists are having lunch at a picnic table near the base of the falls.

We move past them and up a small mound to find ourselves looking up at the tallest waterfall in Hawkes Bay, the spectacular Shine Falls. They certainly are impressive, especially how the water flows through a small gap at the top and then fans out over the rock face.  

Shine Falls drops 58 meters into a reasonably shallow pool (where many eels live I'm told). To give you some perspective, can you see David standing in the bottom right corner below?

And in this one, another visitor decides to go for a swim in the pool, he's much closer and the falls dwarf him. He chickened out though, I don't blame him, the water was ice cold (or perhaps he saw one of the eels).

We had a chat with the couple having lunch (who'd both gone for a swim and were drying their underwear on the nearby bushes) and then, as two more groups of people arrived, we headed back down the track...

...across the farmland to the carpark and back to Lake Tutira in time to have a short relax in the deck chairs before our guests arrived for happy hour. It's always great to have a 'reward' at the end of a walk. Whether it's a hut, a lookout, lake or a waterfall, it's nice to have a target to encourage you to walk the distance- Shine Falls more than met my expectations, I'd highly recommend a visit.


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