Walking to the Wentworth Falls near Whangamata is one of the must do adventures when you are exploring the Coromandel Peninsula. It is one of the best short hikes on the Coromandel and gives you spectacular views across Whangamata from the top of the 50m Wentworth Falls.
Located just a short 15 minute drive from Whangamata, the hike lasts a little over 2 hours return. The tracks are well maintained and none of the sections are too steep. Along the way you will pass under the beautiful native forest canopy, across burbling streams and can even explore some old small mining shafts (perfectly safe). Hiking along the quiet trail with not another soul in sight made me realise how much I had missed New Zealand while I have been travelling around the world. Nothing compares to home.
Being able to stretch my legs under a dense canopy of native bush was like walking through a cave. On either side of the hiking trail Silver Ferns hiding curled Koru spread across my path and Rimu trees draped their spiky branches to my feet.
Sunlight streamed down between the trees above, while native birds and the soft crunching of the gravel under my boots was the only sound breaking the silence. Barely breaking a sweat I followed the path as it slowly wound upwards. Every now and then a sturdy timber bridge would break the forest track to help us cross the river meandering along. Perfect for catching a quick drink and a few photos.
In less than 40 minutes I spotted the first sign for the Wentworth Falls lookout point. Located about 200m from the falls themselves the wooden viewing platform provided my first glimpses through the trees. Plunging 50m down two tiers the water crashed onto the well-worn rocks below. A lifetime of weathering as the water never ceases flowing even in the height of summer. I just wish I had brought my togs along so I could have a swim in the naturally carved pool at the base.
Quickly hiking my way back to the main track I continued on up for another 10 minutes. It was here that the canopy opened up properly. I had reached the summit. In one direction the river flowed gently to the waterfalls edge. In the other it dropped dramatically into a torrent as it disappeared over the 50m cliff. Above the Wentworth Valley floor and over the tops of the native trees I could glimpse the bright blue Pacific Ocean. Under the summer sky it glittered and beckoned for me to return for a swim.
An act I was going to do right after I made me way back down.
Cole is the co-founder of the adventure travel blog fourjandals.com. You can follow him on his adventures as he wears out his jandals (Kiwi slang for flip-flops) around the world on Twitter andFacebook.