Yesterday I had the wonderful experience of being able to
‘escape’ the city again. This time it
was down to Waitomo, near Te Kuiti, and our trip was made more memorable by the
superb sunny weather we had.
On our way we passed through Temple View, where the
attractive church of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is
First stop was at the Mangapohue Natural Bridge. There was nobody there except us (one of the
few benefits of covid restrictions!), so it was incredibly peaceful.
The boardwalk travelled along beside a stream that once
flowed through the base of a large cave system (this area is full of limestone
The cave roof collapsed long ago, and all that remains now
is a natural rock bridge that towers 17 metres above the stream.
Next stop was Marakopa Falls. The track to view these is only 420 metres
long, but it is extremely steep (and it took me more than twice as long to come
But, wow, the walk was definitely worth it. The falls were breathtakingly beautiful, with
the sun making the water sparkle as it roared over the 35 metre rock face.
We stood in the lookout area for a long time, just admiring
the view and feeling the light misty spray brushing against our faces.
Another twenty minutes’ drive and we arrived at Marakopa
itself, with its river mouth and black sandy beach. There were people swimming in the river and
others were fishing off the beach further down from us.
It was full tide and the distant ocean waves could be seen
crashing over the sand bar at the mouth of the river.
It was also hitting 25 degrees, so we never stayed long –
have you tried touching black sand in the heat?
It is burning!
A shady tree further up the river made a pleasant spot to
have some afternoon tea, looking out over the river with all its
It was so still and balmy, that it was possible to hear the
sheep bleating from the opposite hill.
All in all, it was a most pleasurable day – the sort of day
that lingers in the memory to be treasured and brought out every now and then
when one needs a bit of cheering up.