Wainui – a beautiful river

Wainui River 1

The lower reaches of the Wainui River. Photo: C. Knight

In a recent trip to Golden Bay (named for its goldfields, discovered near Collingwood in 1857, though it could equally be named for its golden sand beaches), I had the privilege of visiting a wild river. Short but powerful, the Wainui River tumbles down a boulder-strewn channel to the salt marshes at the southern end of the C-shaped curve of Golden Bay. Most people visit to see the falls, the biggest in the Golden Bay region. The lucky ones may even spot a Powelliphanta, the very rare giant (and carnivorous – though not of humans, thankfully) snail. And the beauty of the falls is indisputable. But it was the river itself, with its mesmerising mix of power and beauty, that I found alluring.

Wainui River 2

Further up the river, towards the falls. Note the size of the tree trunk suspended above the boulders in the river. There had been days of rain before our visit and the river was by no means low; the size and position of this tree speaks of flows of frightening power and volume. Photo: C. Knight

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