Before starting our hike, or tramp as it's called in New Zealand, we decided to pick up another layer from a local outdoor store due to the weather forecast. After a 1 hour drive through the rain, we arrived at the trailhead in 6C/42F weather and were happy with our purchase. We donned all our layers and rain gear and headed off into the rainforest... but, we quickly became hot due to the gradual incline and humidity, and each of us chose to shed a layer after 45 minutes or so.
The hike definitely didn't let you forget that it was located in a rainforest. There was no shortage of waterfalls or small creek beds to cross thanks to the everlasting rain (the area sees rain on 2/3 days). All of the trees and rocks were covered in moss or other plant growth. It felt almost unreal because we hadn't experienced anything like it before. We were very thankful for our rain gear and the thick rainforest canopy which kept a lot of the rain off us. Unfortunately, due to the heavy rain and fog, any clearings in the trees only left views to the imagination.
About 2 hours into the hike, we started to hear the loud roaring of Earland Falls, and even caught sight of the top through a break in the tree canopy. Once we came upon it, there was a sign indicating a flood route or the route right near the falls. We took our chances and climbed the rocks to the falls. Immediately we were greeted by strong winds and heavy spray! We quickly passed through to avoid getting soaked and freezing, but stopped on the other side to take in the full waterfall at 174 metres high; it really was quite impressive.
Shortly after the falls, there was a break in the trees where the sky was clearing and we got another view of the waterfall's top. From here, we were able to enjoy our PB&J sandwiches and other snacks before continuing on.
After about 4 hours, we were out of the rainforest and surrounded by large boulders and more views of the prominent mountain ranges. There was a very luxurious hut, for guided hikers (at a cost of nearly $2k/person), that we passed by on our way to our no frills hut. However, the no frills hut didn't disappoint and had an even better location nestled by crystal clear Lake Mackenzie.Read more