Into Each Heart Some Water Falls

New Zealand, an Otherworldy Paradise

Visiting New Zealand is like visiting another planet. For starters, it is very far from home, at our antipodes. But that’s not really the question. The reason why nature on the islands seems out of this world is that it kind of dropped out of the global evolution millions of years ago and continued to change on its own. New Zealand got separated from Gondwanaland 80 million years ago, even longer than Australia with its marsupials, primitive mammals. New Zealand got isolated before the first mammals developed (1) and only a few bat species and several sea-mammals (whales, seals and dolphins) are endemic. Insects and birds took over the role of mammals in the ecosystem and some birds like the giant moa and the iconic kiwi ‘forgot’ how to fly because there were no predators around. Now cats and dogs simply decimate these flightless kiwis and takahēs.

this is not a Takahē fern tree big fern leaves fern trees parasol of a fern tree young leaves a fern tree with new and old leaves fern forest on the sloping hills
a family member of the takahē; and fern trees and forests
Less than thousand years ago, the Maori were the first humans to set foot on the islands. They brought Polynesian dogs and rats. At the end of the 18th century, Europeans arrived and imported sheep, pigs, cows, horses, mice, possums (“the little bump on the road”) and many other threats to the endemic fauna and flora. On the flora side, New Zealand is a paradise for ferns, that haven’t been replaced by more ‘modern’ plants as is the case in the rest of the world.

Pūrākaunui Waterfalls

In the beautiful Catlins, a green region in the southeast of South Island, the Pūrākaunui Falls are hidden in a forest full of ferns. A short bush walk brought us to our first kiwi falls. The water comes down in three tiers and the total height of the falls is 20 m.

Pūrākaunui trailhead
Guy on the trail fern plant in the forest
and big old trees
more ferns at the riverside a foretaste of Pūrākaunui Touché at the small falls
Going down the bushwalk

The Big Falls

the falls through the trees Pūrākaunui Falls
the river under the trees falls on different levels streaming, streaming ever more where does all the water come from? square rocks like giant stairs
at the side of the falls natural foam? dancing down the stairs under tree cover resting at the falls eery reflections it never stops movement...
gently with no end
one happy tourist one eager photographer solid rocks a lovely curtain

(1) Well, not completely. Part of a lower jaw and a femur of a primitive mammal were found in Saint Bathans (in Otago, South Island) in 1978, simply called the Saint Bathan mammal*... In 2002, scientists described this small mouse-like animal for the first time.

All photos, movies, and texts (except those signed by Touché Guimarães) were made/written by Guy Voets, and everything is published under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license (attribution, non-commercial, share-alike).

Text in brown are links, either to another part of the website, or away from it. When marked with a *, the link goes outside, indicates where it takes you (e.g. wikipedia, youtube,...) in the left bottom corner of the page, and a new tab or page opens.
You can click on most photos to start a manual Lightbox 2* show with larger versions of the photos on the page. Once the show starts, you can click on the right arrow to go to the next photo, left arrow for the previous one. The x at the bottom right stops the show and brings you back to the page. Each photo also has a legend, at bottom left.

photos from 2016.

creative commons by-nc-sa license