Part time New Zealand resident, Heidi Hough, traveled the Hummingbird Highway and hiked to along the river and to the falls.
The water source are are close to the Abel Tasman National Park, a native forest of nikau palms, rata trees and ferns. The habitate has attracted naturalists for centuries.
The rivers courses through dense bush and a narrow gorge to eventually to the 66 ft tall Wainui Falls. The Wainui Inland Track follows and the river for several miles and climbs a rapid height to view the falls.
The Wainui River deposits into the salt marshes of Golden Bay, named for the gold discovered in 1857.
From the earliest times to the present day, flax has been plentiful in Golden Bay. For the Māori it was essential to daily life, used to make clothing and rope. By the 1840’s several flax mills operated in area of Collingwood, providing work for the Māori, but closed around WWI.
The location surrounding the Wainui River also attracted the industries of gold mining, coal extraction, and logging in the mid 19th century and continued strong until the 1970s.