Whangarei Falls and A H Reed Memorial Park Nature Walk
Day one of my road trip began late in the afternoon. Very little occurred other than I drove about 2.5 hours north to Whangarei, stopped for McDonald’s (guilty because I JUST watched Supersize Me), and made it to my hostel well after dark.
However, the next day was my first full day in Whangarei, Northland’s only city and the warmest city in New Zealand. Home to Maori settlements for hundreds of years, the city also brags an airport, a yacht marina, and breathtaking hiking tracks.
After a ten minute talk to the friendly owner of my hostel, I opted to head to his first suggestion, Whangarei Falls. The falls are literally a five minute walk from the carpark, but once I made it down to ground level, it felt like entering the Amazon (or what I would imagine the Amazon to be like based on watching movies like The Rundown, which is most likely incorrect).
The path followed the stream (where I almost fell in) through lush, wet fauna. It was amazing. For lack of a better term, it just felt so nature-y. Several times, I stopped, closed my eyes, and just listened to the silence around me kissed by far-off birds above. This was followed by a deep inhalation of fresh oxygen and a big smile of content that quickly spread my face.
I followed the jungle-like path to AH Reed Memorial Park where a “canopy trail” allowed me to walk high up between the trees and view what is left of the original Northland forest of kauri trees. The kauris are extremely thick trees–at least 500 years old–that modern day New Zealand is trying to preserve.
This quiet, peaceful nature walk was the perfect start to ease myself into my road trip.