International travel enthusiast and expat from New Zealand, currently living in Germany. https://indie-road.com
Published March 9th 2017
A hidden spot of beauty
Only a short drive (at least by New Zealand standards) north of Napier is a reserve called "Boundary Stream". Some people refer to this reserve as a "mainland island" as it is heavily protected by the Department of Conservation so that they can restore the native vegetation and recreate as best as possible a small pocket of land which resembles what New Zealand would have looked like before colonisation. Everything here is carefully managed to keep the ecosystems intact and this attracts some rare wildlife. If you're really lucky, at the right time in the evening, you may even hear a kiwi.
At one end of the reserve is Shine Falls, the highest waterfall in Hawkes Bay. To get here, you must start from Heays Access Road and walk to the waterfall. While conditions can get quite muddy when wet, this is an easy 90-minute return track amongst the native bush, which begins immediately as you step out of the car. If you take a moment to listen, particularly in the early morning, you can hear lots of native bird calls.
The falls themselves are spectacular, and almost too big to fit into one photo frame. They tower up 58m and cascade down a large rockface in a fine mist to some shallow pools at the bottom. On a hot day, it's pleasant to take a swim and cool down, just look out for the eels. You can also climb around the side on the rocks and, of course, there are plenty of photo opportunities.
There's a little bit of space by the pool if you want to sit on the rocks and enjoy a picnic. There aren't too many facilities here as it's fairly rural and off the beaten track, but there is a very basic toilet by the car park. This is a place to enjoy as an escape from the cities, where you can submerge yourself in nature and lose track of the time.