The Catlins forest park
The Park is located in the south east of the country and link Invercagrill to Dunedin along the coast.
Many underwater animal species can be found here, such as sea lions, with places where whole colonies can be seen. It is also a part of New Zealand to observe yellow-eyed penguins, with protected view points to avoid disturbing these sensitive animals at the time of laying and nesting.
The parc is a temperate rainforest, thick, with a lot of beautiful waterfall and huge ferns. The road which crosses the park has a lot of turns and curves bringing us further in the vegetation and we are always amazed by the scenery here. I think that will be one of our major memories from New Zealand.
Our incredible meeting
Koropuku Falls, is where our magic and unusual encounter happened. You have to pay attention on the road to see the entrance of this small track leading to the waterfall. Indeed there is just a sign to show the place and a little parking bay.
The track entrance is just at the end of a curve, it’s easy to miss it and not possible to go turn back on this kind of road, that mean you will have to find another parking bay and walk to go back there.
The story of the track is very unusal. The sign is an official one set by rangers but the maintenance of the track leading to the waterfall is nothing like what we already saw.
The story beggins with two friends who discovered the waterfall twenty years ago. They fell in love with the place and the surrounding atmosphere. They decided to create a little homemade track to enable people to admire the waterfall.
The waterfall is not that impressive, 11m hight with a little pool, a bit of space to sit and appreciate the sound of the nature, it’s a little heaven. The real interest lays with the track, we are in a deep nature, a Tolkien universe which invite you to open your mind and your imagination.
On our way back to the car park, we bumped into the two friends who discovered the waterfall and created the track.
They shared their story and how they built the track with logs they transported here by themself in buckets and when you know it takes approximatly 15-20 min walk to cross the 2km to go to the waterfall, I let you imagine how long it took them to build it up.
They come here every day since 20 years to maintain the track, change the logs when it’s needed, cut branches, clean the way…
They even move rocks around to create an easy path so people don’t need to climb around, they created a bench in the middle of the track, they said it’s for people to relax when they get tired but I think it’s also for the people like them who love the place and just want enjoy the peace and the beauty of the forest.
We have to admit we loved this place so much, full of poetry, that the other waterfalls of the park looked a bit plain afterwards. Maybe it’s not fair to Catlins Park other attractions but the story, the meeting with these two unusual builders and the “journey” which transported us there made this moment a beautiful experience.