We had made reservations for the zipline over Okere Falls before we visited the area on Nov. 5. So today we got ready for our first zipline ever! We arrived at the venue and got suited up with our harnesses before noon.
Our guides got our group of 8 all geared up and onto the shuttle bus and off we went the short distance to the start of the zipline tour. We started at the head of the falls and those folks who were planning on doing the raft trip afterwards went down the staircase to see the water rushing by the viewpoint towards the class 5 rapids over Tutea falls! We all continued on to the first of several ziplines.
After we went over 2 ziplines our guides had us “roll back” over Tutea falls in pairs to suspend over the falls and take in the beauty of the view.
As we tramped through the bush from zipline to zipline (I think there were 4 total, with a suspension bridge also!) our guides gave us historical and natural history information. They described several of the bird species including the New Zealand pigeon, the Kereru (ke-RARE-oo), a chicken sized pigeon! We saw several perching and flying between trees in the canopy! They also pointed out the kawakawa plants along the path, and their medicinal value as an antiseptic, analgesic, and general rejuvenating tonic. They pulled a few leaves off for us to munch as we walked between the zipline sites. At a covered hut on the edge of the forest where they are planting native trees to rejuvenate the forest they offered us hot kawakawa tea to rejuvenate us! It was mild and herbal tasting. The leaf I chewed did numb my tongue just a little.
After our 2 hour fun and informative zipline tour we had a picnic lunch in the parking lot at the end of the tour and hiked back the 20 minutes to the Tutea falls observation point and the stairs to the caves that were closed on Nov. 5. Along the way we spotted more kawakawa, and I picked a leaf to munch.
We took the staircase carved into the gorge wall to the cave at the base of Tutea falls and practically crawled through it.
At the base we were almost level with the river and we could see the rafts as they emerged from the drop over Tutea falls!
For videos click HERE!
We returned home to a relaxing evening and a fairly clear sunset!