Onepunga Falls

Saturday 21 January 2023

The plums at the Claremont car park were almost all gone, and on our walk up Boby Stream the cherries had been eaten by the birds. White deposits under cherry trees showed where birds had been feasting. The nasties, barberry and gorse were there, requiring a bit of lopping in places. Other invasives were: sycamore, willow, clematis, parsnip, broom, thistle, blackberry and dog rose. We didn’t see pigs but there were lots of prints where they’d exited the stream.

Boby Stream meanders through limestone country with impressive limestone cliffs walling it in. Where we tried to cut off a big loop we got lost in the jungle at one time. Ruth was our intrepid pathfinder and steered us up the correct tributary. Animal tracks alongside the stream were useful at times to keep us out of the deep pools. The only awkward bit was where the gorge narrowed and slabs of limestone had fallen into the stream, probably in the earthquakes. The team was ready for lunch as we arrived at the falls right on 12:30. Ruth and Kim ventured behind the falls for a clever photo-opportunity. A large eel came into the shallows to get a close look at us and then drifted slowly away. In this remote location it certainly wasn’t expecting to be fed as would happen in a tourist spot. To come so close, it must have known we were from a peace-loving tramping club.

While eating lunch Jax noticed that the soles of her light-weight Salewa boots were both detaching. Wendy was carrying insulation tape, so we used that and shoelaces to try to stop them flapping. Mary’s zip-tie was too short to be helpful. On the walk down-stream the soles came off completely, so Jax was walking on the EVA cushion-sole which survived the walk. With the benefit of the morning’s route-finding and trampled grass we got back to the car in two hours but didn’t find a way to avoid a waist-deep dunking about 15 minutes from the road.

The picturesque falls and limestone gorge make the walk worthwhile but the pest plants are winning, and mean none of us will hurry back. Kim and Ruth got a real buzz from seeing eels. 

We were: Jax Morren, Ruth Barratt, Kim Ashmore, Mary McKeown, Wendy McCaughan and Kerry Moore. [KM]

Ruth stays dry behind the waterfall

Kim was fascinated by the eel in the waterfall pool

At the rock-fall. The orange growth is probably due to bacteria oxidising leached iron