One of the good things about recently having moved to the Bay of Plenty is that there is plenty of unexplored country around us. Today, we decided that it was time to explore north and west of us and go to the lovely Tarawera Falls.
Getting there was rather interesting: we had to drive past Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoma to Kawerau, collect a Permit, and drive through a privately-owned pine plantation along unsealed logging truck roads for about half an hour to the entrance to the Falls walkway. The views along the logging road were spectacular. The road was better than we had been led to believe, although it was quite dry - I suspect it would be a great deal more "interesting" had it been wet - and the map we were given with the Permit to enter the pine plantation was extremely good, which helped!
We also enjoyed seeing Mt Edgecumbe (Pukauaki) along the way to Kawerau; I was rather hoping to see some of the earthquake fault zones from the 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake but I don't think we were far enough towards the coast. I remember that quake very well: a number of friends and family had a rough time then, and the mountain apparently wiggled several centimetres closer to Kawerau!
The falls themselves are quite unusual. Lake Tarawera has an outlet river that suddenly disappears underground and emerges about 2-3km away from the side of a cliff, almost like a jet from a hose. It squirts out with immense pressure: a huge amount of water coming out of the cliff face in about 3-4 different places, forming a very fast-flowing, deep river of a beautiful bluey-green at the bottom of the cliff, which we walked alongside for most of the track to the falls. They were very lovely, and very loud! I've seen lots of different waterfalls in NZ: this one was one of the "steep" variety, cascading down the side of the cliff in three or four different channels - what made it really interesting was the water just gushing from the middle of the cliff face rather than coming from the top of the cliff.
After exploring around the falls we drove back along the logging road and headed down to the edge of Lake Tarawera - unfortunately it had started raining so we didn't get to see the Outlet, where the lake water disappears underground on its way to the falls.
We finished the day with fish'n'chips in Kawerau - very nice!
It was lovely to get out of town and into the bush: the silence of the bush is like a blanket that enfolds you, and the noise of the falling water washed all thought away. Golden silence. I've been thinking a lot about that recently and have decided that lots of my prayer is "circumstantial": wherever I happen to be, I find something lovely and that becomes part of my prayer. It's not words, it's being, and when I don't get enough "being" then my actual words become a bit more snarly....