If you are interested in reading the earlier articles, please click the links below:
Fifteen Locations in Five Days
Day Two: Â Towards Bay of Islands (Part 2)
Our second and last stop before getting to the Bay of Islands was the Whangarei Falls.Â We planned to have a picnic there.Â Of course Adeeb and I have been here before, four times actually- once on our own and then with my parents, my sister and another friend.Â Each time the weather was gorgeous and we intended to bring a picnic and have it right at the bottom of the falls.Â During our first visit, the path Adeeb is sitting on in the picture was just being constructed and some Maori boys were diving into the water from the nearby trees making huge splashes. We were here to test our new video camera. Â One of the boys asked us to video tape them, he was being really cheeky about it too.Â We had great fun watching them show of in front of our camera and splashing around.Â They were ecstatic when Adeeb showed them their video on the display screen.
I remember there were tree trunks laid above the water as a bridge.Â I was scared out of my wits trying to cross it. Poor Adeeb went back and forth trying to get me to the other side; he virtually had to carry me there. It is not such an easy task either!
This time around, by the time we reached the falls it was pouring down.Â No more of that light drizzle we left behind in Goat Island, this was the real cats and dogs stuff. We sat in the car for a few moments praying for the rain to ease off, but no such luck. I was looking at the sign board drenching in the rain and my favourite bench on the little park just off the gravel road looked lonely (the picture of the bench is from a previous visit, the sun was shining on that day).Â It did not look as if there was another soul at the falls now aside from us, who else would be that crazy?
We decided to brave the rain.Â Rupa and I took a detour to the little girl's room to freshen up.Â If there is one thing I do not like at all about this place are the toilets.Â Damp and unclean and there is often no toilet paper.Â So If you ever decide to visit the falls, make sure you stop at a gas station before getting to the falls and take care of business there.Â Or carry toilet paper and hand wash with you, of course you may decide to go all natural and have a shower under the falls afterwards!
There is a nice visual illusion at the falls.Â When you look at the falls from the observation area, it looks as if it is a long way down.Â The little bridge at the end of route seems so far away.Â However, getting to the falls is not that difficult at all.Â It is only around a 30 minute walk maximum.Â I am not a hiking/tracking sort of person at all and it is easy enough for me.Â
By the time we got to the bottom of the falls, we were soaked to the core.Â Riyadh pretended to be on the Titanic while Rupa tested the waters and walked along the shallow stream. Adeeb was busy using our little FLIP video recorder from underneath his jacket.Â I just watched.
There was something hallucinatory in the way the surroundings looked that day.Â The rain has a way of painting the known world with mysterious colours.Â Everything gets a darker shade.Â As I watched the many forms of water - the rain, the restless waterfalls and the stream, the last lines from a Bengali poem came to mind:
"A precious drop of rain, in our palms
turns to water colourless and plain."
Â Â© 2008 Luna Rushdi
|Luna Rushdi, Gather Travel Correspondent|
Luna's work appeared on newspapers & periodicals in India and Bangladesh including The Daily Star, Prothom Alo and Desh. She published a children's book on Bengali Alphabets with funding from the Australian Government. Luna also edited a quarterly literary magazine for two years. She is currently working on her first novel.