Sunday, 11 January 2015

Wainui Falls... A Great WalkOn A Hot Day...

 My botanist friend from Auckland came to stay for a
few days. Having a car meant I didn't need to pack
up the bus to go anywhere. We have had lots of very hot still
days, far too hot to be out in the sun so walks in the
bush were perfect. Off we went to Wainui...
On the way to Totoranui... In the Able Tasman National Park.
 It took us a lot longer than 30 minutes... We dawdle and
look at lots of plants on the way...

 It's a well maintained track...

 And little bridges. Still lots of debris from the last flood.

 When I'm with Janeen I always learn things... This plant is Tutu or
Coriaria arborea... Although much used by the early  Maori, except
 for the fruit of the swollen purple-black petals, every bit of this
shrub is extremely poisonous. The poison (tutin) is so powerful
that in 1870 in Otago it killed a circus elephant that had been left to
feed in long grass where succulent shoots of tutu were growing.
The positive of this plant is that it has nitrogen-fixing root nodules which
help to enrich soil in otherwise infertile places in which it tends to grow.

 Lesson number 2... Was about the Rata or Metrosideros robusta.
These trees grow up to 25 meters high. The profusion
of red flowers stand out amongst all the green of the
other forest and bush trees and plants... But amazingly it
starts it's life as a seed smaller than a grain of sand
which grows as an epiphyte perched on a host tree.
It's aerial roots grow downwards to the ground...

 Finally enclosing the host tree with a trunk up to 2.5 meters through.

 The fused aerial roots and the hollow left by decay of the host tree...
These trees occur throughout the North Island and in the
South Island south to about Westport...
Different from the Southern Rata or Metrosideros umbellata
which grows from a seed in the ground up to 15 meters
from Whangarei to Stewart Island but is rarely found in 
the North Island...


 The track continued through the lush green growth...

 Alongside the river in places where people were swimming...

 Huge boulders...

 And the board walk...

 Which lead to the swing bridge. The maximum number
 of people at any one time on this bridge is... One!

 It really swings, holding onto the  handrail is essential
or it would be easy to topple over...

 We climbed up amongst the tree roots... Getting higher
up the valley...

 And into the treetops and beautiful South Island Kanuka
 or Kunzea ericoides

 Which was in full bloom...

 And the waterfall. There was quite a volume of water which
made a lot of cool spray... Delicious on such a  hot day.

 But nobody swimming... The rocks look very slippery.

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