Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New Discoveries - Waitomo to Marokopa Short Walks

Another adventure was had by us yesterday.  We headed out past Waitomo Village towards Marokopa, looking for the Mangapohue Natural Bridge.

We pretty much drove into the boomsticks of back and beyond.  25km past Waitomo Village on Te Anga Road, a tight winding road with nothing around us but bush, paddocks and scrub land.  I started wondering what I was getting myself into.  And was very thankful no-one got sick.

But the drive is more than worth it.  The carpark for the Mangapohue Bridge is well signposted and on the right hand side of the road.  Its a 5 minute walk along a really cool boardwalk to get to the bridge and its spectacular.

Its a huge 17 metre limestone arch, apparently all that is left of an ancient cave system.  You can take the stairs up to the top, and the kids spent a fair amount of time up here listening to their voices echoing about the walls.

From the top of the bridge you can walk around through farmland back to the carpark.  Unless its been raining.  Then its just a big sludgy mud mess and its best avoided from the bridge side.  We went back around and took the carpark path to the farmland as we really wanted to see the fossilised oyster shells.

There were really random outcroppings of rocks with some pretty cool fossils in them.  Great learning opportunity for the kids and for them to explore and touch.

Back to the car, and a further 4km down is the Piripiri Cave.  Again the carpark for this is on the right hand side.

This was another short 5 minute walk to get to the entrance of the cave.  Being a cave, obviously it was rather dark and probably quite spooky looking to the children.  It had stairs to the bottom, and I stood inside at the top for a few minutes to let my eyes adjust to the darkness.

The children were rather hesitant about entering the cave, but after I told them I was going in and they could wait for me at the top they decided sticking with me in the dark cave was a better option than waiting alone at the top.  Don't worry, I would of been able to see them the whole time had they decided not to come with me.

Of course once in there, much more shouting, echoing and fun followed!  You don't need a torch as there is enough light coming from the entrance to see.

And a further 2km down from the cave are the Marokopa Falls, carpark on the left hand side.  This was another very short walk to the most spectacular falls I have seen in NZ yet.  They were huge!

I was slightly impressed....

We drove on from here to the teeny tiny township of Marokopa.  By now the drizzle had really set in and it was a pretty miserable day.  We wanted to explore a bit more in Marokopa but the weather held us back.  It will be there another day but from what I could see it is a stunning west coast beach and well worth the trip to explore and spend the day.

Another day exploring the paradise I am lucky enough to call home.

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