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Off-Campus Study & Exchanges - Skidmore College

Student Reflection: Waterfalls in Abel Tasman National Park

Me standing near the top of Wainui Falls in Abel Tasman National Park

Me walking the swing bridge that is near the opening to the waterfall

For my spring semester, I studied abroad in Christchurch New Zealand on the Frontiers Abroad Geology Program. For me this program included a 5-week Field Camp, where a group of geology students from schools around the United States traveled both South and North Island New Zealand researching and collecting scientific data. One place I never got to see while on field camp was the famous Abel Tasman National Park, which is in the North-Western most region of the South Island. So I went adventuring one weekend. While on the trip, I heard about this ~60 foot waterfall called Wainui Falls. I had to explore it.

Kneecow Palm surrounded by Ponga Fern Trees

So I took a couple hours to hike into the Ponga (local New Zealand fern tree) Forest and ended up at this stunning waterfall. With vegetation growing out of it, and the smooth rocks surrounding the pool, it was an amazing sight to see. Many of these beautiful places were also sacred to many of the local Maori people and tribes. Their importance to me was overlooked until I actually visited this beautiful place.

The Skidmore in New Zealand Program does allow a lot of time away from classes to take trips like this one and explore. I highly advise other students to take these opportunities and go explore the countries that you’re in! You might stumble upon an amazing waterfall like this!

Written by Nathan Smail 20′

Wainui Falls in Abel Tasman National Park

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