Waipara Gorge – 10th March 2018

Trip Guide: Caro

Trip Report: Ellen

G’day. It’s 9am, 10th March 2018. Eleven keen NPSNZ members meet up in Amberley to consolidate the group to a minimum number of vehicles. Destination: the air strip at a farm where we will park. It’s a scenic drive in.

Sun is shining brightly. Perhaps too brightly as it will be hot and reflective in the gorge; the name is indicative, White Gorge. That doesn’t stop any of us. We will deal with it.

Soon we are well on our way. We trek along a farm road and across paddocks which are now green after the recent downpours of rain, remembering to close gates after ourselves. The farmer has been generous in allowing us an easy route of access to this stunning place. Some of us tiptoe through the “patties” while others simply tromp through. We encounter a handsome herd of deer and a mob of sheep. The herd of cattle which has previously deposited the “patties” peer down at us from the top of the hillside. The animals are skittery in our presence. They lope and scamper away. Perhaps a few images were snatched either now or maybe on our return.

Soon the limestone escarpments of the area come into view. The most prominent, spectacular and best known is “The Bishop”. Caro, our intrepid guide, advises some call it “The Bishop’s Mitre”. She leads us to a spot where we can clearly see the image. Click. Click. Click. We all go Click. Now the north flowing Waipara River, and the gorge it has cut, comes into sight. It is deep. It is stunning. It looks like it will be a challenge to get down to the bottom of it. As we progress we find the track not too difficult at all. Thank you to the generous farmer. We get to the bottom. It’s taken us about an hour and a half.

After taking a few photos, at least half the group head along the river’s edge in an effort to get to an even better view farther along. A few of us stay behind, make images and savour the birdsong and beauty of the place. We watch as others cling to the limestone edge of the river in an effort to move along it without getting wet. Most do get wet. The images will be well worth it. Boots and socks will dry later.

Eventually we regroup and enjoy a bite to eat before we climb back up again. At the top Caro leads us farther along. We photograph and enjoy the vegetation, especially the Cabbage Trees tracing their shadows across the rocks. We find more subjects in the escarpments above us. We stand in awe. We remember to take images in this special place.

Soon we head back in two groups. The herd of cattle decides to amuse the first group by charging into a fence and knocking a post over. Eventually we all tailgate and reminisce about today, and about other days past, and speculate what the future will bring. We have had fun. We have had an opportunity to create images. We all hope they will be as wonderful as they looked to us through our viewfinders.

A little after 2pm we make our way to the N’orwester Cafe in Amberley for a little sustenance and more conversation. Caro reiterates that “NO photos of the gorge are to be posted on PUBLIC MEDIA WEBSITES”. Tired. Happy. Soon we say goodbye….until next time.

Thank you Caro for an enjoyable day out.

To view more images please visit Flickr