Stones and Rainbows

Back to my slightly longer walks today, with a bit of a twist. This time, it was a one-way only trip. I dropped my car off at the end, and my host gave me a lift to the start of my hike, at Rainbow Falls. I completed my work for the day around 2pm (all computer based, so no pretty before/after pictures this time! Unless you want to see excel spreadsheets…), and then headed into town to start my hike (about 6km, all said and done, mostly flat).

It was a beautiful day today – blue skies and about 16C. The Falls are only a short 5 minute hike.

The falls were beautiful – high and tons of mist coming off them – giving them a good sized rainbow when the sun is out (couldn’t get a good picture of said rainbow though, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!). Starting down the trail, foliage quickly came in and really made the falls look more tropical than they were.

Once away from the falls though, the forest closed in and really reminded me of being back in BC. Lots of tall trees, shade and dark greens.

In regards to the trails here, I really have to hand it to the Kiwis – they have all been amazingly well kept, regardless of how remote/unused they are, all have useful signposts (usually listing the distance and estimated time), and often have maps of the area too. You really get a feeling that the country is well set up for hiking (or tramping as the Kiwis call it). I’m really looking forward to getting on a few of the Great Walks. Ideally I would get to do all 9, but I have a feeling that would be very difficult to do without better tramping gear (most specifically, a tent!). Still, I plan to tackle a few, including the biggie, Milford Track.

Anyways, enough about things still in the distant future (no great walks to be attempted by me until WARMTH returns!), back to my shorter hike today! I passed another, smaller waterfall and then arrived at my destination after about an hour of hiking – the Kerikeri Basin, where the river empties into the Kerikeri sound.

Also at the basin are the 3 oldest buildings in New Zealand of various types  – the oldest stone building, the oldest wood building, and the oldest church. I imagine you can figure out which one is which from this picture into the sun. :)

New Zealand was one of the last major landmasses in the world to be settled by humans – the earliest people were estimated to have arrived less than 800 years ago. Europeans didn’t show up until the 1600s, and these buildings were built in the 1800s. So much like Canada, ‘old’ is a relative term. European tourists often live in buildings considerably older than the oldest ones in New Zealand for example.

The photo was taken at an old Maori ‘Pa’. Pas were fortresses that Maoris built – it was often on the top of a hill overlooking water or a surrounding area, giving the people inside the Pa a strategic advantage in the event of attack. Now, they are simply grassy hills with a very flat top. On my way back to my car, I also found a wishing well as old as the other buildings around it.

I’m not sure if wishing at a well is the same as on a shooting start, but either way, I’m not telling!

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