McLaren Falls is located a 5 minutes drive from State Highway 29 on McLaren Falls Road in the Kaimai ranges a short distance from Tauranga, I try to make the falls my semi rest stop on the way to Whakatane, to take in the breathtaking scenery which is the surrounding botanics, the never ending supply of fresh water never failing to trail it's way between each and every crevice which has been pathed by the previous flow of h20. It's the place to unwind, relax and turn off from the strict rules of the road to take the skips, jumps and small jogs of your feet to enjoy the view and sound of the rushing water.
McLaren Falls is built up of large flat platforms of rocks which create an almost welcoming vibe to wander through and among the beautiful landscape. A one of a kind water scape which is not common within the towering buildings of Auckland.
McLaren falls is a great rest stop for those who are travelling for a couple of hours via the Kaimais, or whether you want some time to enjoy the outdoors and company in the form of your own. McLaren has a great atmosphere to refresh your mind and photo opportunities for those wanting to document their holiday, trip or serenity.
The water is fresh and bloody freezing, no doubt you will need thick skin to want to take a dip in the McLaren lake, but it's worth while and no doubt after you bring your head out from underneath the surface all your minds thoughts will be thinking about nothing but the wellbeing of your body and trying to bring your temperature up to a reasonable standard. A cheeky skinny dip wouldn't be far off the cards if you found yourself a secluded area a furthers walk up stream from the falls itself. Although jumping from the 20 metres high bridge to the water below is prohibited due to the dangers of the possible hidden rocks and boulders below the waters surface.
I haven't ventured further than the falls and the bridge, but reading a bit more about McLaren Falls I found out there are nature trails which after dark are home to thousands of glow worms, part of the track is also wheel chair and motor scooter friendly so theres no excuse for anyone not to join in on this nature trail.
The park is popular for camping, fishing, kayaking, wedding photos, adventure of any kind and is home to one of the most wonderful collection of trees in the north island
Camping at the McLaren Falls park comes with a maximum stay of 3 nights on a first come first serve basis as bookings are not required, adults are $10 per night and children are $5 per night with under 5's free.
Fishing is available but you need to purchase a fishing licence, day licences can be purchased from Marshalls Animal Park or participating sports stores within the region.
The gate to McLaren falls is open from 7;30am to 7:30pm during the summer months and daylight saving, and 7:30 to 5:30 when daylight saving ends.
First time coming to McLaren Falls I needed some breathing space from the claustrophobic living that the city can sometimes bring. I brought my camera along with me, walked, ran and jumped from various rocks and perched myself on the edge of a single tall standing rock right on the edge of the falls with a straight 10-15 metre fall to the water below. Not many people were around as it was lunch time on a working day in the middle of the week but I found the tranquility of McLaren falls breathtaking in the sense that time somewhat stood still. There were no people around who were rushing to be somewhere, there were no buses or taxis picking up impatient passengers wanting to get to work before their pays were docked, there were no loud mouths preaching their inconsistencies with the world and condemning you to hell for living life your way, and there was no breathe down my neck by people expecting me to reach their expectations or to live a certain way. The water on the lake was still and a slight breeze was brushing the leaves through the trees, this is why McLaren Falls makes it to my list of top 5 small North Island destinations.
Michaela Loye is an 22 year old blogger and free lance photographer hailing from Auckland, New Zealand. She has a passion for adventure and locally sourced beauty products.
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