Category Archives: Video

Circumnavigating New Zealand — Rotorua’s Redwoods and Okere Falls


Silver Leaf Fern

We’re still in and around Tauranga and Rotorua for today’s blog article, but we’re heading away from these towns and into the nearby forests. Just minutes from downtown Rotorua lies a redwood forest. Yep. You read that correctly. Redwoods. As in, the same type redwoods for which areas of northern California are famous.

Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest

The redwoods here, however, are not quite as large as the ones I highlighted in my article on Muir Woods, as you can see from this Muir Woods photograph from that article:

The giant coast redwood

So, how did redwoods come to grow in New Zealand? No; these trees are not indigenous. Yes; these are indeed California coastal redwoods. They were brought here nearly 100 years ago and naturalized into the environment.

Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest

These sequoias have taken to the local climate and soil quite well. Since being brought here sometime around 1923, some of these trees have already reached heights of 230 feet/70 meters. This particular stand of redwoods make up the Whakarewarewa Redwoods Forest.

Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest

The redwoods are not the only flora of note here. What about that silver leaf fern pictured at the top of today’s article? Here is another view:

Silver Leaf Fern

Not very silver, now, is it. But not so fast. The silver leaf does not get it’s name lightly. To see the silver, one must turn over the leaf to observe the underside:

Silver Leaf Fern

Now let’s continue farther away from Rotorua and head north to Okere Falls Scenic Reserve:

Welcome to Okere Falls

It is here, at Okere Falls, that we trek into the forest for a view of a popular rafting area over the Tutea Falls. Let’s start with the upper portion of Tutea:

Okere Falls

And head on down just below that to the lower portion (in the lower right frame below you’ll see the remains of an old hydroelectric generating station):

Okere Falls

Now, that doesn’t look all that daunting for rafters, right? Well, let’s watch what happens to a pair of rafts heading down Tutea Falls. The following video recaps some of what you saw last week in the geothermal area near Rotorua, and beginning at the 0:43 mark you see this intrepid duo of rafters heading over the falls:

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Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, travel, vacation, Video

Fall Foliage Cruise — New Brunswick; Reversing Falls


Reversing Falls — outbound flow

On October 15, 2019 Adventure of the Seas sailed into the Bay of Fundy and made port in the city of Saint John, New Brunswick. Here we caught up with a really great tour guide — Diane Howarth of Go Fundy Tours:

Diane Howarth of Go Fundy Tours

First stop, not even outside Saint John yet, was to view the famous Reversing Falls rapids on the Saint John River. Before we get to the Reversing Falls, however, let’s talk a moment about Diane and Go Fundy Tours. Go Fundy Tours is owned by Diane and her husband, so it’s a family affair. This tour was simply magnificent, and one of the best of the entire trip. We wound up visiting several places twice that day, several hours apart. That might sound redundant until you realize that the Bay of Fundy is subject to huge water level swings between high and low tides. This means that the landscape changes dramatically throughout the day.

Reversing Falls, across from Irving Pulp & Paper

One of these changing landscapes is the Saint John River, and the difference between high and low tides causes the rapids here to reverse course, peaking about every six hours, twelve and a half minutes. The pictures you see under cloudy skies were taken at about 7:15 a.m.

Reversing Falls — outbound flow

During this time it was low tide, and the water was flowing dramatically into the Bay of Fundy:

Reversing Falls — outbound flow

In most places around the globe (not to be confused with that exciting mystery novel The Globe), the average swing between high and low tides is 3 feet 3 inches/1 meter. Because of tidal resonance from the funneling effect of the Bay of Fundy, however, here the average is 43 feet/13 meters!

Reversing Falls — outbound flow

To show you the difference, here’s the same area photographed just four hours later, as high tide was starting to flow into the river:

Reversing Falls — inbound flow

But a short one-minute video is probably a bit more dramatic, so:

One last look before heading off to our next Go Fundy Tours stop with Diane Howarth:

Crow Island

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Transatlantic — Iceland Golden Circle; Gullfoss (and Strokkur video)


Gullfoss Falls

No Fun Photo Friday today. We have too much to cover. But I do have for you that promised video at the end of today’s article.

Gullfoss Falls

Beyond the Geysir Hot Spring Area on the Golden Circle tour we stopped at a segment of Hvítá (White) River. It is at this point that the Hvítá cuts into the landscape, creating a deep canyon.

The Hvítá (White) River canyon containing Gullfoss Falls

It is this canyon into which the river makes an impressive multi-step drop — 36 feet/11 meters, 69 feet/21 meters, and finally a spectacular plunge of 105 feet/32 meters. This is Gullfoss (Golden Falls):

Gullfoss Falls

On average the amount of water cascading through Gullfoss in summer is 4,900 cubic feet/140 cubic meters per second!

Gullfoss Falls

But the record flood amount for Gullfoss was 71,000 cubic feet/2,000 cubic meters per second.

Gullfoss Falls

Now, as promised, here is a one-minute seventeen-second video not only of Gullfoss, but of a Strokkur Geysir eruption as well:

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Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, travel, vacation, Video