Hangover? Nope, we’re clear.
Rain? Also good.
With the worst of the weather behind us and nothing but excitement within the group, it was time we headed out and explored the first of part of the Great Lake Trail. I’d heard stories of how the Waihaha trail was breath-taking and a great way to spend the day, but never ventured around the lake to try it out for myself.
The Waihaha trail was to be our longest trail of the trip, the most looked forward to, but also the most logistically challenging. Luckily (or maybe unluckily) our door rang at 7am sharp. Jonny from FourB shuttles was ready to ride and shuttle us from our AirBnB out to the start of the Waihaha Trail, some 40 minutes around the lake, 20 more than the start of K2K.
The Waihaha trail is split into two sections separated by Waihaha Road. Sector one being the original Waihaha trail that starts off from the Waihaha River Bridge, traversing along the edge of the gorge and past the Waihaha Falls before weaving back inland to connect back to the end of the road. Sector 2 is the newly built Waihora section of the trail that drops you down into the bay, past the sacred Kotukutuku Falls.
The Waihaha trail is an all-day epic, but one that’s well worth doing. Plan ahead. The remote nature of this trail requires both a shuttle to the start from Kinloch, and a water taxi back from Waihora Bay. Pack plenty of food, and take your time to enjoy all the little sights and sounds along the way. Many of the waterfalls aren’t accessible, but the roar of the falls is worth stopping for. Take in the scale of the scene atop the many cliffs and trick your mates with what side of the trail the river is on underneath the Echo Rock
Some of the best parts of the trail are within the first and last 10km. As you climb your way away from the start hut and along the river’s edge, be sure to keep at least one eye on the trail to avoid a nasty fall. The descent back into Waihora Bay is also another ‘watch where you’re going’ section with tight, slippery boardwalks snaking their way down beneath a raging waterfall.
With all of us exhausted from a mammoth day exploring in the cold woods, we hopped on the boat and fell asleep with our eyes open. Riding some 40-ish Km and stopping to shoot both photos and videos takes its time.
After that day, protein and beer was in order. What better place to eat than Southern Meat Kitchen who specialize in Southern Style fried chicken!
For the final day, we venture out and ride the famous and popular K2K and W2K trails. Stay tuned.
Words & Images: Cameron Mackenzie
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