National Geographic : 2009 Jul
• Tranquil beech forests cloak Waitonga Falls as it tumbles 128 feet down the southern flank of Mount Ruapehu. Because the park's volcanoes stand fully exposed to the Tasman Sea, westerly winds wrap around their summits, bringing heavy rainfall. Water cascades down nearly every gully and gorge, seek- ing the Central Plateau or the sea. National symbol of New Zealand, tree ferns can grow to 20 feet, catching the mist on graceful fronds (above).