Day 18 on the Road
Checking Out the Bridal Veil Falls near Raglan
We’re hitting the road from Hamilton to Raglan today on this episode of New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year where we stop on the way at Bridal Veil Falls.
Today we are leaving the city of Hamilton and making our way to the quirky little surf town of Raglan.
So today we’re leaving Hamilton after spending quite a few days there and you know, some ups and some downs. We had a lot of fun in the city and we did a lot of fun activities but this campervan is still a nightmare, so we will have to be back very soon. With any New Zealand road it always starts off straight and then it starts to get a little more interesting. By interesting, I mean winding as hell.
On the way we notice there is a tourist hot spot which is a wind farm viewing area. Obviously we can see the wind farms as we are driving along and we’re kind of like: “Oh yeah, there’s a wind farm over there.” But there’s a whole viewing area dedicated to viewing such wind farms. So we park up there and… This is a let down. It’s literally facing a road with some electrical wires and behind maybe in the horizon, if you have a good day, you see a couple of wind farms. What a let down. I mean, come on like New Zealand, you offer some of the best views in the world, what the hell is this one?
On the way from Hamilton to Raglan, I really recommend you check out Bridal Veil Falls. It’s a very short hike so, we’re heading down walking through the beautiful and mystical forest with a beautiful path. We’re stopping at the entrance [to bridal veil falls] where we are greeted by a pole that basically welcomes us in this area.
[Speaking te reo Maori… Badly]
We greet all of you who come from near and far to this special place. Sleep lightly and enjoy. No one’s going to understand that, Robin. I think they will. I think everyone speaks the Robin language. All I heard was baguette baguette baguette.
Honestly, I have to say that being able to do a hike in shorts on the third week of winter is pretty epic. It’s really good to be back in a wilderness environment because we’ve been spending time in the city recently. You know, sipping tea and all that so it’s good to be back in the forest and it looks beautiful straight away.
I’m kind of expecting to hear the waterfall [Bridal Veil Falls] before I see it but somehow this is a stealthy waterfall because all of a sudden, the forest just goes away, there’s a drop in front of us and oh yeah, there’s the waterfall beside us.
The Bridal Veil Waterfall is located in a small enclave so you get mountain and thick forest all around so it makes it really isolated and if you don’t know it’s there there is no way you know it’s there. Even while driving you don’t hear the noise of the waterfall. Even when walking toward the waterfall in the small forest you barely hear the noise. You only hear it when you’re facing it because it’s just backed into a massive cliff which is concave so the water is falling up here and the cliff is doing that way so it just gets the noise and just push it the other way. So it’s kind of… You don’t know it’s there until you look for the sign and you look for it actively.
And it’s really amazing to be able to be that close to the waterfall. It looks really amazing from this first top viewing area. You’re literally stood on the edge with the waterfall and if you are afraid of heights then probably not a good place to stand.
So there’s a few different viewing areas to the Bridal Veil Falls. The middle area is obviously really good because you get the whole grand scale of the waterfall but obviously you need to go to the base. And to get down there you need to go down 261 steps.
Form the mid-way lookout you see the whole waterfall, from top to bottom and you see the water smashing down. You can also feel the brine washing your face and you see also the concave cliff just behind it. It’s like million years in the making. And it’s just an incredible sight and so easy to go to. It is awesome.
So we go down the 261 steps and tah-dah! It is unveiled! The Bridal Veil Falls in unveiled. And the base looks, you know, it looks really awesome – massive pool goes into small stream. So it’s quite cool and it’s a good photo op to see the water just smashing and the very very very small river created out of this gigantic waterfall. I mean, the waterfall is humongous and then the river is like ridiculous but I just love seeing it. And it’s time to go up and this is when Laura is having a hard time. she’s behind me like [heavy breathing] I feel I’m chased by a hoard of hippopotamus out of shape. It’s kind of ridiculous the roar that is behind. It overpowers the roar of the waterfall for fuck’s sake. I finally manage to haul myself up there and I’m breathing so heavily. In conclusion, I really hop I get fit after this trip because this was a shameful day for me. It was powerful. It was intense. I don’t know if I am going to make the last two minutes of this walk. I’m going to soldier on. How are your legs feeling? They feel like heavy steel right now like it’s not that my legs are… I’m not the man of steel, like Superman, but literally my legs feel as heavy as steel.
We’re getting back to the campervan and getting back on the road. When we’re on the road, we couldn’t have timed it better. The sun is setting and just behind the mountain in the distance then sun is just going behind it and the sun beams are coming from behind it and it looks epic.
The Raglan Backpackers is really all about surfing cos Raglan is all about surfing so it’s a really good atmosphere. Everybody here is just really relaxed and ready to surf. There is like the hot pools people are just relaxing in it. The showers are shaped like surf boards. Yeah, it’s pretty cool. We go in the kitchen and I’m sick of Laura’s food. I’ve been eating pies for the last I don’t know how long so it’s time for me to make some good food. Nice homemade pizza right here. My own little homemade base. It’s going to be tasting good. And a lot of cheese of course. They’re not as good as pies – pies are awful. Pizzas are amazing. So we eat some pizza, we go and have a couple of drinks with some people in the hostel. So we now need to get some rest because we’re going to go to an eel farm tomorrow and that might just take it out of us.