Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls in a waterfall in the Waikato region.

Bridal Veil Falls

The waterfall is a 55 metre (180 feet) plunge waterfall that over time has caused a large pool to form at the bottom. The pool is five metres deep but there is a large boulder in the middle of the pool just below the surface.

The waterfall is located along the Pakoka River at the Wairēinga Scenic Reserve. Wairēinga means ‘water of the underworld’ in Māori.

Wairēinga/Bridal Veil Falls is located between the towns of Te Uku and Raglan. The waterfall is off Kawhia Road. Access is via Te Mata Road, which is off the Hamilton/Raglan Highway (SH23). The carpark is 4 km down Kawhia Road, from the Te Mata Road turn off. From the carpark it is a 10 minute bush walk to the top of the waterfalls.

There are four viewing platforms. There are two platforms at the top of the waterfall. It is 135 steps down to a midpoint platform and 261 steps to the viewing platform at the bottom.

Top viewing platform

Top viewing platform

2nd top viewing platform

2nd top viewing platform

Midway viewing platform

Midway Viewing Platform

Lower viewing platform

Lower viewing platform

Facilities wise there are public toilets (long drop) at the entrance and a picnic table in a clearing.

The track at the top of the waterfall is accessible for wheelchairs and children’s pushchairs but there is no access to the bottom of the falls other than the steep set of steps.

Swimming in the pool below the waterfall is not recommended as the water quality is not safe for swimming.

Balloons over Waikato

Balloons over Waikato is an annual hot air balloon festival that is held in Hamilton in early autumn.

Balloons Over Waikato

This free event, which is now in its 17th year is running from today Wednesday March 16th until Sunday March 20th.

This morning the festival kicked off with the Hamilton Mass Ascension, with a mass inflation of the balloons at Innes Common at Hamilton Lake. Unfortunately due to the fog the balloons did not take off.

There are four special shaped balloons in the festival this year – the Resene Ele-fantastic Pea-nut Elephant, Baby Dino, Race Car, and Princess Carriage. There are over 30 hot air balloons with pilots from USA, Belgium, Australia and New Zealand.

Baby Dino & The Resene Elefantastic Pea-nut Elephant

Baby Dino & The Resene Elefantastic Pea-nut Elephant

Race Car

Race Car

Princess Carriage

Princess Carriage

Balloons Over Waikato

Balloons Over Waikato

Balloons Over Waikato

Balloons Over Waikato

There are plenty of opportunities to see the balloons over the next four days. On Thursday there is the Wel Energy Trust Breakfast at Dawn at Innes Common at Hamilton Lake at 6:30am. A free breakfast is offered to the first 2,000 visitors as they watch the balloons inflate. The balloons will also be visiting several local schools on Thursday.

On Friday the balloons will take off again at 7:30am from Innes Common. In the evening the balloons will visit Tokoroa (Balloons Visit South Waikato, 6pm – 8pm, Tokoroa War Memorial Sports Ground) and Te Kuiti (Balloons Visit Te Kuiti, 6pm – 8pm, Te Kuiti Domain). On Friday night in Hamilton city there is the City Burn & Markets between 6pm and 8pm at Garden Place.

The Smartrak Cash Bullseye Competition, will be held on Saturday morning at Innes Common, where balloon pilots will attempt to throw a marker into a bullseye to win $1,000. Zulu Nightglow is held on Saturday evening, between 4pm and 9pm at the University of Waikato. This is the biggest event of the festival and includes food, live entertainment, carnival rides and games, and the Balloon Glow Show, which features the balloons lighting up to music. The night ends with a fireworks display.

The final morning will see the balloons take off for one last time from Innes Common at Hamilton Lake.

It is amazing sight to see these balloons, so if you miss the festival this year check out 2017, planning is already under way.

Pop-up Globe

The Pop-up Globe is temporary replica of the second Globe Theatre in Auckland hosting a season of Shakespeare’s plays.

Pop-Up Globe

Pop-Up Globe

This year it is 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. The first Globe Theatre was built on the south bank of the River Thames in London in 1599 by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (a company Shakespeare wrote many of his plays for). On June 29 1613, during a production of Henry VIII it burned down when the roof caught fire after a theatrical cannon misfired.

The second globe theatre was built a year later and stood until 1642 when all of London’s theatres were closed due to the English Civil War.

The Pop-Up Globe is a temporary full-scale replica of the second Globe Theatre, located in a carpark on Greys Ave, presenting a festival of Shakespeare plays during the months of February to April.

Pop-Up Globe

Pop-Up Globe

Pop-Up Globe

Pop-Up Globe

The three storey building includes Lord’s and Gentlemen’s rooms located on two levels directly behind the stage, and lower, middle and upper galleries with seating facing the stage.

The yard is where the most fun is to be had – the Groundlings are closest to the stage and get to interact with the actors, provided they don’t mind standing for the duration of the performance.

Over the weekend I saw the Pop-Up Globe Theatre Company productions of Twelfth Night and Romeo & Juliet. Twelfth Night followed the tradition of Shakespearean times with male members of the company playing the female roles. Christel Chapman (Juliet), Miriama McDowell (Lady Capulet) and Carmel McGlone (Lady Montague / Nurse) joined the company for Romeo & Juliet.

Cast of Twelfth Night

Cast of Twelfth Night

Christel Chapman (Juliet), Carmel McGlone (Nurse), Jonathan Tynan-Moss (Romeo)

Christel Chapman (Juliet), Carmel McGlone (Nurse), Jonathan Tynan-Moss (Romeo)

I also saw the AUSA Outdoor Summer Shakespeare production of The Tempest with Lisa Harrow, who has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, as Prospero.

Last night I saw an all female version of Henry V.

Other productions during the season include an all female version of Hamlet, the Young Auckland Shakespeare Company’s production of Much Adoe About NothingTitus a contemporary reworking of Titus Andronicus with seven young male actors and Antony & Cleopatra.

Papakura Museum

Papakura Museum is a community run museum in the South Auckland suburb of Papakura.

Papakura Museum

Papakura Museum

The Museum is housed in the Museum and Library Building, which also houses Sir Edmund Hilary Library, a café and an educational services store. Pedestrian access is at 209 Great South Road. There is an undercover parking building at 28 East Street (street behind the museum).

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Sculptures outside Papakura Museum

Sculpture art outside Papakura Museum

The museum is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4:30pm with a late night on Wednesday (open till 6pm). It is open Saturday 10am to 3pm. The museum is closed Sundays and public holidays.

Entry is free by donations are appreciated.

They currently have an exhibition As We Saw It: Letters to and from the Front, WWI, which features a collection of letters, diaries, postcards and official war documents from the First World War. The exhibition also includes photographs, personal memorabilia, and war uniforms.

The remainder of the museum explores Papakura’s local history including the town’s involvement in Māori Land Wars, World Wars, industry and local business.

Lieutenant C V Grant Jacket, WW I

Lieutenant C V Grant Jacket, WW I

WWI Medals

WWI Medals

Letter from 14-year-old Papakura Central School girl to Sergeant Lionel Lloyd James Grice

Letter from 14-year-old Papakura Central School girl to Sergeant Lionel Lloyd James Grice