Whirinaki Canyon, Rotorua

Lush green walls of the Te Whaiti-Nui-A-Toi canyon in the Whirinaki Forest Park near Rotorua, New Zealand. New Zealand photography by Laurie Winter.

The Te Whaiti-Nui-A-Toi canyon is in the Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tane Conservation Park. This location is a dream for photographers, but not the easiest to get to. The canyon itself is just a short walk from the carpark through a lush forest with amazing birdlife, including native kaka screeching overhead. The walls of the canyon are mossy green columns and the beautiful bush and rushing river waters make this a fairy-tale spot. There are several walks in the area, including a multi-day hike. The Waiatiu Falls is also nearby, around a thirty-minute walk through some of the lushest forest in New Zealand. 

This was taken on my third trip to the canyon. I visited a second time after wanting to improve my photos, and then a third time after I accidentally deleted the second set of photos! I am really happy with the photos from this visit, but I would never rule out a fourth trip. We visited while New Zealand was covered in smoke from the Australia bush fires, which created a surreal orange glow in the area for the whole day. Not something I will ever forget!

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