09.07.16 // 10.09.16
Omanawa can only be described as one of the most picturesque places I have been so far. From the birds eye view all the way to the moment you dip your toes in the clear blue water, I think anyone who has been here would agree that with every step it takes your breath away.
So far I’ve had two experiences at Omanawa. The first was with a friend who had been previously, the second was with a large group. The initial visit was in the middle of winter and luckily we were graced with some beautiful weather, however there was a rush of rain a couple of days previous so we had to bear walking in wet and cold conditions. The hike isn’t an easy one even when dry and not necessarily safe either, even on the best of days. As soon as you start the climb you know it’s going to be interesting and you quickly learn that the first half is predominantly uphill. This is hard until you realise the second half includes scaling down muddy terrain and holding onto tree roots for support. For a person with short legs like myself it proved to be a bit of a challenge and isn’t something I would suggest if you’re looking for a casual Sunday stroll. However if you’re someone who’s up for getting a bit dirty and is keen for an adventure, why the heck not.There is a main trail that leads to the falls but it’s quite easy to lose track of where you are so my suggestion (whether you take it or not), would be to go with someone who has been before and knows the path. Also knowing the safest and easiest way down is for the best! I learnt this the hard way on my second trip when I went slightly off track and ended up falling a meter or two down through a bit of bush. Luckily my leg caught a branch and a friend was able to untangle me and bring me back to horror stricken faces of everyone who had joined us. Me joking around was unbeknownst to the fact that it was only a meter or two before I would have plummeted down the cliff face. Not ideal. So please, do yourself a favour and keep your feet fastened to the beaten track.
The way there, depending on your fitness and how many is in your group can take approximately fourty minutes, give or take how many times you need to stand at the edge of a rise and decide if you want to go back or not (trust me – it happens). However once at the bottom the muddy legs/butt and the moments of contemplation definitely outweigh the view that is Omanawa Falls.
Both times I’ve made myself jump into the water but due to the mountains and landscape encircling the falls it doesn’t get a lot of sun, especially in the colder months so to say it’s freezing is an understatement. I’ve heard in summer the water is amazing (especially after a hike such as that one) so I’ll be much happier returning during our warmer season. Alongside swimming and standing under the falls (it’s a must-do!) I took the time to explore, taking photos to capture every angle. Omanawa looks like something from out of a painting and having a photographic background meant that I was instantly obsessed with how beautiful it was. Despite it being a small area there is plenty to see and do. If in a big group such as the one I was in, the day was filled with the entertainment of people jumping off rocks, enjoying the sunshine and taking some pretty mint photos for the gram.
So, if you’re thinking of going to Omanawa don’t hesitate, just be safe. From what I’ve learnt myself if you ask someone who has already been here it doesn’t take them much thought to say they’re up for it again so ask ask ask.I can’t express how beautiful this place is, it has definitely captured my attention and many others. So far it’s been hard to beat and is definitely a favourite amongst many other beauties that I have been lucky enough to see! So make a day out of it, take a backpack, bring your camera, pack lunch and go in a group or with a couple of mates. Ultimately you won’t regret it and you most definitely won’t want to leave.
* Safety note: Omanawa is blocked off for a reason. Many people have sustained serious injuries from trying to get to and from the falls so please be extra cautious.