Day 210 on the Road
Must-Do Hike on the South Island!
Today we’re checking out one of the most diverse walks in New Zealand. If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand then head on over to our epic YouTube Channel!
So today we’re gonna discover one of the hidden gems of the Methven area.
Today we’re heading to Washpen Falls which is a walkway that’s been recommended to us by so many people at the hostel we’re staying at so we just have to go check this out. It’s really easy to miss though it’s just off State Highway 77 hidden behind some pine trees and down a 2km gravel road once we arrive at the wool-shed though we are paying we are paying our track fee because this track is on private land unlike the usual Department of Conservation walks and the track fees goes toward maintenance of the track as well as the conservation work here.
The track starts off going up the Melvern Hills going through some exotic pine forest. Where we started the track there was a little leaflet showing you the 23 points of interest to see around this 2 hour loop walk and one of the points of interest we’re seeing is this absolutely huge volcanic boulder.
The volcanic lava boulder was blown here about 89 million years ago when the hills were formed by a volcanic eruption. The boulder was buried but then exposed again by glaciers during the last ice age. And there’s evidence of this volcanic past all over these hills with rocky bluffs and volcanic outcrops there’s really so much to see.
The track then exits the exotic pine forest and arrives in a massive canyon this canyon has bluff exposed on every side and are super rugged and super rich in history because they are part of an ancient volcano in the area.
But one of the best things about hiking in a volcanic area is that the soil around volcanoes are super rich making it a paradise for any local fauna and flora to thrive here so there is heaps of types of plants from mini ferns to super tall trees. It’s awesome.
And of course in volcanic area we can find some lava caves that were formed from the quick cooling of the lava during the last eruption and this presents an amazing shelter for both us and local wildlife.
Throughout this trip, Laura and I have become really good at spotting wildlife just because we take our time and we really listen to the bird calls all around and we have spotted a little tomtit which is nesting just right on the cliff of the cave so we are taking position to find the best angle to watch them behave because it has been breeding season and we might be able to spot some babies.
The tomtit or miromiro in Maori is a little native bird here in New Zealand. It’s actually really small it only reaches up to 13cm and every season it can breed up to three babies and we are in luck because this one has three of them in it’s very next.
The tomtit is described as a lovebird in Maori culture and that’s because they not only mate for life they’re always seen together and we’re definitely getting an awesome insight into that life right now.
This is such a unique moment in our trip and we’re just gonna share with you a little bit longer of what life in the New Zealand forest is like while we’re sat here there’s different birds coming and going there’s all sorts of bird calls in the forest and we’re just watching these beautiful tomtits nesting.
Moving on, we make our final ascent up this canyon and on the way we see a little waterfall but this is not the Washpen Falls this is a waterfall called the Armchair Waterfall which is very nice and then we make our way up to this amazing viewpoint where Robin can’t help himself.
Am I all mighty? Yes. [echoes].
The echoes from up here are amazing as are the views we can see all the way across the Canterbury Plains which is the flattest part of New Zealand and we can even see across those plains out to the ocean.
Reaching the top point of our hike is also marking the halfway point of our hike and because this is a loop track we are gonna be going down the canyon on the other side of the cliff experiencing a different kind of hike on the way down.
But before tackling the way down Laura and I are gonna take the time to embrace the view and get a well deserved rest as we finally made it all the way on top of this canyon. the views from up there are unparalleled and we loved every second of it.
And now that we are well rested it’s time for a really really steep way down. I cannot unphase enough how steep is the way down. We are almost going straight down the cliff. it starts by going a bit through and then straight away through the native bush on the cliff between a little bit of stairs and lot of steep walking tracks.
What the track lacks in ease it definitely makes up in beautiful views and again awesome echoes.
We’ve finally reaches Washpen Falls this is the waterfall that the track is named after and we can definitely see why it is an amazing highlight of this walk and we have different viewpoints of it from the side as well as at the base of the waterfall.
It’s a picturesque long drop waterfall with the water being crystal clear so it’s super inviting and it doesn’t take me long for me to take off my shoes and go for a little bit of a paddle in the pool.
The water is icy cold so I’m quickly putting back on my shoes and getting on with the rest of the track.
In between all the lava caves, the native plants, the birds, the waterfalls we realised that we’ve actually missed a few of the points on our 23 point of interest map. We have missed that there’s actually a Maori campsite remains with an oven where used to cook moa bone so keep an eye for that as well cos we missed that.
But that just goes to show how much there is to see at Washpen Falls.
The next point of interest where Laura and I are gonna be lingering is a lovely little pond. This is right out of a fairy tale there is a row boat right here and basically we can just help ourselves so Laura is feeling like a real princess while I, the prince charming, is rowing her around the pond. She’s seriously giggling all the way she looks so giddy and happy right now it’s ridiculous how something as simple as that can make her so happy. But to be honest it doesn’t take us long to do all around the little pond so as soon as we exiting we are making our way back onto the track it’s a very short walk back to the campervan and we are now making our way back to our hostel for tonight.
I get into the rowing boat with Robin. Robin is rowing and it feels like so romantic it’s amazing. I feel super giddy It’s like a movie so yeah now I have my boyfriend rowing the boat for me and I feel like a fricken princess like sat on the end of the boat like come on darling get us around the pond. I dunno. But I feel really like some sort of princess right now and I probably look like one let’s be honest.