The Hues and Moods of Autumn – McLaren Falls Park

“How beautifully leaves grow old!” wrote John Burroughs, the American naturalist and essayist. “How full of light and colour are their last days.”

Burrough’s himself could have been shuffling through the colourful leafy carpet around McLaren Falls Park when he made his equally vivid autumnal observations more than 100 years ago.

A few weeks ago, it was us enjoying the colour and the warmish sun while kicking up a pile of autumn leaves as we made our way around a section of the park.

McLaren Falls is a surprising mix of new and old, of the natural and the manmade, and of the tranquil and the seriously wild.

The Manmade

The name, McLaren Falls Park doesn’t give quite a full picture of what is available.  It is built around two main features; the manmade lake at McLaren Falls Park and the Wairoa River which was dammed to create it. The lake formed part of the hydropower schemes which saw Tauranga City equipped with electric lights as early as 1915. While electricity generation is still its primary function, the lake is now the centrepiece to a beautifully landscaped area of public space.  Made even more picturesque during Autumn.

A favourite place for picnics and water sports.

While wandering around the meandering paths, there is another attraction in the form of aquatic birds, including ducks, shelducks, swans, geese and pukeko.

The Wild

The polar opposite area of the lake is when the spillway is opened, the water from the Wairoa River escapes from Lake McLaren as a raging torrent as often as not bubbling along with a host of rafts and kayakers thrilling in the adrenalin of a grade 5 white-water ride. Check out it HERE.

The falls and are another section of this diverse park as is the small glowworm grotto, which is only accessible by kayak. The area has some fantastic reflections and myriad of greens.

The Natural

What could be more natural than a tree?  The park has one of the most significant collections in New Zealand of rusty red Cypress trees which are the main autumnal decoration to view as you walk around the park.

My favourite walk by far is the Nikau Palm location, it is undulating and slightly steeper than a lake stroll.

With just a 15 minute drive on SH29 from Tauranga city, McLaren Falls Park is a beautiful spot and an absolute wonderland to explore. Best of all, it won’t cost you to enter and enjoy.

Being Indulgent

With no entrance fee, no picnic organised there is still a chance to part with a few dollars and replenish spent energy at the McLaren Fall Park Cafe.  The cafe is in a peaceful area, not too far from the park’s entrance. A perfect location.

With food that is inspired by fresh seasonal produce and created into delectable eats.  Not forgetting a tempting and indulgent array of cakes, slices to satisfy any sweet tooth.  Couple that with barista made coffee and there ends a lovely time spent replenishing your energy surrounded by the delights of autumn.

Reflections McLaren Park (1)

Autumn colour McLaren Park

McLarens Park lakeside

Autumn colour pathway

McLaren Waterfall2


60 thoughts on “The Hues and Moods of Autumn – McLaren Falls Park”

  1. Hi Suzanne,
    Thank you for sharing this informative post. Sounds very interesting. A beautiful place.
    I have added this to my must-go places when I visit New Zealand.
    (MLSTL participant. Shared the post on my social media.)
    — Pradeep

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your photographs of the Park are stunning, your description of when the spillway is opened makes it sound great fun for daredevil kayakers. I think NZ looks lush, is your weather mixed like in the UK?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Suzanne,
    What glorious colors! I sometimes forget that you folks are opposite in the seasons from us…we would get these lovely hues on our trees in October!
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nancy, your comment was another that went sideways, and I apologise for the delay in replying. The collection of Autumn colours were taken over the years and not all years are equal in colourful sights. Thanks for your lovely feedback.


  4. Those Autumn tones are beautiful – I just saw a tree in those colours today on my morning walk and thought how beautiful they are at this time of year. You’re so lucky to see so many of them – and they’re huge!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my goodness, Suzanne what glorious colours. Thank you for sharing with us at #MLSTL and bringing joy to my day. Autumn Colours are my favourite and I just feel so good when I see them. We don’t have many where I live on the Gold Coast in Queensland so I’m indulging in your photographs today. Have a beautiful week and enjoy those colours. x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Suzanne, I just met you and your blog from #MLSTL and I am glad that I did. Stunning photos! We were in New Zealand for two months the beginning of this year, and we loved everything about it. You mentioned the cafe which reminded me of the excellent coffee we had everywhere we went. I look forward to reading more:) (shared on SM)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apologies Sam for not replying before now must have been trying to do too much on my computer and forgot to head back here. Yes, what is more, natural than a tree. I am a tree hugger from way back and proud to say that I have planted over 2,500 in my lifetime, and we owned each one.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What glorious colours in your shots Suz, I loved reading about the hues and moods of autumn as seen by you over the ditch! All our leaves have gone with an early snow fall and rain over the last few days. But it was beautiful while it lasted!! I have pinned this to my group board, as it’s too good not to share 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful photos of the trees, Suz. What a splendid autumn you’re having, when it comes to colors and outings. While we should be hot at the end of our spring here in Southern Utah, the temperatures and phenomena are still representing winter – hail, snow, sleet, frost, and freezing at night. Yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Liesbet, the photos are a collection of past and recent visits. We are having such a warmish autumn and today its in the early 20’s though we are in the North Island. Hope it warms up soon, though mid summer you will be wishing for cooler weather. Us humans are like that 🙂 I’m definitely a lover of coolish weather than really hot temperatures. Somewhere in between.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Soon, we won’t be in Utah anymore, Suz, so colder weather will prevail, regardless. It’s just that we’ve been cold now for ten months, ironic as it sounds, since we were really pursuing warm weather all winter, as we’d been cold since the end of last summer.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful Sue. This made me smile when I saw it on the wall at the local rest home – I feel sorry for trees in the autumn. At least when I went through the change, nothing fell off. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Totally breathtaking! Autumn is my favorite season by far and we haven’t had a pretty one here in years, so thanks for sharing yours.

    Liked by 1 person

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