Keen to do something different on New Year’s Day, Hamilton based Nayna Hamid, Ismail & Amina Drury and Sajeeda Sabir decided to take in a bit of Nature, making the best of the shining Sun.
Their choice of Bridal Veil Falls near Raglan was appropriate because as well as being a popular tourist spot, the Falls were in all their glory when 2015 dawned on this planet.
“It was fantastic and we need to discover more of New Zealand,” the youngsters quipped, having enjoyed the day amidst fun and laughter.
Located along the Pakoka River in the West of the Waikato region, Bridal Veil Falls is a 55-metre high plunge waterfall surrounded by 217 hectares of Waireinga Scenic Reserve.
As Ismail mentioned, it is an easy walk to the top of the Falls and the track is through a native forest canopy and is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs to the viewing platforms at the top.
“The walk from the car park to the top of the Falls takes about 10 minutes. The water flowing into the Patoka River has journeyed a long way from its headwaters in the forests of Pirongia. It is home to eels (tuna), freshwater crayfish (koura), fresh water mussels (kakahi), cran’s and red fin bullies, banded kokopu and common smelt,” he said.
Owned and managed by the Department of Conservation, the forest is full of ‘Beilschmiedia Tawa’ trees, typical to New Zealand.
Tawa (meaning ‘Tree’ in Maori) is often the dominant canopy species in lowland forests in the North Island and North East of the South Island but will also form the sub-canopy in primary forests throughout the country in areas beneath podocarps (a large family of conifers found in the Southern Hemisphere) such as Kahikatea, Matai, Miro and Rimu.
The Tree gives its name to Tawa, a Northern suburb in Wellington.
Some trees can grow up to 30 metres or more with trunks of about 1.2 metres diameter.
Tawa trees produce small flowers followed by about 3.5 cm long fruit of dark red plum colour. With such large fruits, the Tawa relies solely on the Kereru (New Zealand Woodpigeon) and where present, the North Island Kokako for dispersal of its seed.
These are the only remaining birds from New Zealand’s original biota, large enough to eat the fruits and pass the seeds.
Tawa can also support significant epiphyte gardens in their canopies, which are one of the few habitats known to be frequented by the enigmatic, arboreal striped skink.