A start point at the given waypoint - the 'Okere Falls Carpark' - is suggested, near the headwaters of the Kiatuna River. While you are there, there is a set of stairs in the corner of the carpark nearest the road down to the start of what was the power station race. Well worth the slight diversion to see the power of the river up close (behind a substantial guardrail).
After walking down the scenic Okere Falls riverside walk (15 minutes), watching kayakers and rafters experience their thrills, to the lower 'Trout Pools Carpark', the cache should soon be in hand.
After finding the cache, you can return up the tarsealed road (in the heat) or via the track you came down (in the cool shade). The 'Trout Pools Carpark' is also now available for overnight camping in campervans & motorhomes (no tents). Being self contained is not a requirement and there's an honesty box (vandalised, for the $, I guess) system in place.
Okere Falls bush walk has lookouts over the Okere River ('Place of Drifting') and four picturesque waterfalls as it cascades through narrow, steep ravines. Rafters and Kayakers actively use the river and they provide many photo opportunities and much hilarity. Beside the main carpark, steep steps lead down to the site of Rotorua’s first hydroelectric power station and provide a view of the spectacular force of the river (These steps are often slippery and require reasonable fitness).
Hinemoa Steps, in the rock face besides the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world, lead to the Tutea Caves and a torch is useful for a quick look inside.
The 11km stretch of the Kaituna River, known as the Okere River, continues its journey on to the coast at Maketu from the tranquil waters of the Trout Pool.
* Much of the Okere River’s traditional importance is due to the rich variety of animals and plants it sheltered. The river’s other name ‘Kaituna’ (kai = food, tuna = eels) reveals much about its significance as a food source. Below the four main waterfalls are numerous large eel holes. These eels were caught with spears, hinaki (eel pots) or pa tuna (eel weirs). It is also said that experts would roll themselves into balls and dive under the banks, emerging triumphantly with large eels caught with their bare hands!
Further down the river, whitebait were caught in great numbers, including inanga, giant kokopu, banded kokopu and koaro. Fisheries for the adults of these species are believed to have existed as far up as the bottom waterfall. Koura (freshwater crayfish) were another local delicacy. Birds such as kawau (shags or cormorants) and ducks which made their home on the river were another traditional food source; during the depression of the 1930s, shags were each sold for a shilling. Today they are a protected species.
On the riverbank there are a number of plant species with important traditional uses. Plants such as raupo were part of the traditional rongoa (medicines) for the people. Raw materials for weaving and other crafts are still gathered from the riverbanks.
* source: Pages 9-13 of Walks in the Rotorua Lakes area. Also contains a map.
For related information see Walking trails in Rotorua or Destination Outdoors.
The cache itself was last seen in a camouflaged 0.6 litre container, with room for small swaps and TB's only. Of course the cache's location was averaged over time using a Garmin Oregon 300. It contained, at cache placement:
- FTF Prize - Geocaching Compass
- Essentials - Waterproof Log Sheet / Pen.
- Swappables - Golf Ball, Skate (the only fishy swappable I had)
- TB - Wooden Wooly Wanderer (www)
Please access the GZ through the conveniently placed gap between the two large flax bushes by the trail, to avoid a publicly visible geo-trail. Once behind the plants, you are not visible but are in hearing distance of a close-by fishing spot. This is a high-muggle zone and there's now an obvious geo-trail to the GZ from my one visit. Please use the hint to retrieve from the nearest side of the obvious flora. Once you've retrieved the cache, please throw it back where it was. It's currently invisible, I'd like it to remain that way. Thank You.
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