The Kaituna River flows out of Lake Rotoiti, on its way to the coast of the Bay of Plenty. It leaves the lake as a rushing stream, and less than a kilometre from the lake tumbles over the seven-metre high Okere Falls, which once provided electricity to Rotorua.
If you’ve read After the Roses, you might recall a family visit to the Rotorua area, with a day trip that included Okere Falls. Daisy and the others went by boat as far as the inlet, then walked to the falls. These days it’s an easy drive up to the site of the old power station, then a pleasant walk alongside the stream, retracing Daisy’s steps.
The power station was completed in 1901, making Rotorua just the fourth town in New Zealand to have electricity. Growing demand led to its expansion in 1908, but in the 1920s power became available from larger schemes on the Waikato River. The Okere Falls station closed in 1939, and it was dismantled over the next few years. Remains of the power station are still visible.
Further along the track come the falls themselves, tumbling into a swirling pool.
Set into the steep bank here are the steps Daisy and her party descended.
The cave at their base is no doubt still home to many cave weta, but nowadays it’s fenced off for safety.
Today there’s another attraction: the excitement of rafting over Okere Falls.
Had it been an option in 1923, I’m quite certain Eddie would have been eager to try this out. I’m equally certain that Daisy would have insisted on going along, too.