No short walk showcases the ethereal wonder of Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park better than the Waterfall Loop Track. It loops around a stunning section of the Whirinaki River, and is more of a stroll than a walk beneath humbling podocarp giants.
The wide, well-maintained, path allows walkers to float through the ancient forest, head tilted at 45-degrees to take in the full height of the enormous kahikatea, tōtara, matai and rimu.
Whirinaki River, which dawdles below the track, is rated by DOC as the best in the Bay of Plenty in which to spot whio, Aotearoa’s endangered blue duck. Whio can be difficult to spot, so it’s worth becoming familiar with the male’s shrill whistle before visiting, as this is often heard long before the ducks are seen.
Whirinaki Falls mark the halfway point but the true highlight is the Te Whaiti-Nui-A-Toi Canyon, experienced at the beginning and end of the loop. The moss-walled columns of the canyon are breathtaking and an incredible site to watch for whio.
- Whirinaki Waterfall Loop Track (gpx, 11 KB)
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