So let’s rewind 6 months to August 2011. New Zealand greeted me with a bone-chilling and wet welcome. It was the middle of Auckland’s winter, which is characterized by rain, rain, and more rain. “Oh just wait until you see a New Zealand summer, you’ll never want to leave” was the resounding reassurances I got from locals and foreigners alike. So when I returned to New Zealand from Sydney, I was expecting the greeting this time around to be filled with bright sunshine bringing me a goddess-like tan. This was not so. There was rain, rain, and more rain. (Anyone else noticing a pattern here?) Anyway, I headed straight out to the Coromandel to join my host family at their beach house in Pauanui.
The Bed and Breakfast thing is located in Pauanui, constituting approximately half of the businesses in the town. Let me tell you something about Pauanui. When it rains, there is NOTHING to do. No movie theatre, no shopping, no bowling alley, no arcade even. NOTHING. This resulted in serious cabin fever. Therefore, I did not let the rain ruin my day off. So it was off to Wentworth Falls for some (very wet) sightseeing and picture-taking.
No, that is not the falls. And yes, that is a road. It is something called a Ford. Which you are supposed to be able drive over. However, the VW Golf that I drive here cannot handle such a thing. The massive amounts of rain turned this small obstacle into a raging river of death. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, but that’s how I felt at the time. My dream to see these waterfalls were taken away in the currents of this freaking river on top of a road (haven’t they heard of bridges?). I had no choice but to get back in the car and backtrack my way to Pauanui again.
But wait! There was still hope. On the way to Wentworth Falls, there was a sign that read “Waterfall Walk 20 mins” accompanied by a small dirt (now mud) car park. My two companions and I quickly made the decision to give it a go. We began hiking barefoot on rocks that gave my delicate soles a relentless beating whilst I was attempting to enjoy the nice scenery. One good thing about the rain is that it makes everything more green. How nice. On the way we avoided the deathtraps of a nest of spiders and a (magical?) mushroom.
We successfully avoided these perils and found ourselves at the waterfalls! Which apparently are not usually raging rapids as they were on this particular day because of the rainfall, therefore we were unable to jump off the cliff (I learned this much to my disappointment after the fact).
This piece of photographic evidence was not enough for my thrill-seeking self (please note the sarcasm in that statement). Thus, I just had to get closer for that perfect picture, even if it meant risking my life climbing a rock wall whilst barefoot (please notice the melodramatic tone in that statement).
So I got my pictures and we headed back to the car. The End.
…I wish. The excitement did not end there my friends! We got back to the car and spent quite some time cleaning ourselves up only to learn that we were stuck in the mud! Literally! Thanks to my host dad’s daughter’s boyfriend (phew), we were able to get out with the assistance of a few logs (and some very skillful vehicle maneuvering on my part). Now that’s really the end to my tale of the waterfalls in Pauanui. Radical.