Go chasing waterfalls
Summer calls for adventures… so go chasing waterfalls!
What’s not to love about these majestic, natural wonders? Hawke’s Bay is home to a collection of waterfalls that are worth seeing for yourself. Grab your walking shoes, picnic, bottle and your bathing suit, and hit the road – you can thank us later.
Those with an adventurous spirit will be right at home with a visit to Shine Falls. Considered one of New Zealand’s most spectacular waterfalls (if we do say so ourselves), you can discover this 58m tall beauty after a 1hour drive north of Napier. Make sure you pack your walking shoes and have your drink bottle in hand, as you will need to walk along the 1.5hour return track that leads to the base of the waterfall. You’ll pass farmland and towering sandstone bluffs, plus there are a few uphill sections and safe stream crossings on the way. Trust us, the trip will be well worth it after seeing the falls.
Another Hawke’s Bay beauty, this 3-tiered waterfall can be uncovered in the heart of Tangoio Forest, just 20 minutes from Napier. This one requires 50 minutes of walking, starting from the swing bridge at the main carpark and following the stream. Make sure you take care on this track as some parts can be muddy and slippery, especially after rainfall. The base of the waterfall is inaccessible, but you can take in the stunning view from the waterfall’s viewing platform.
Kill two birds with one stone when visiting Tangoio Falls, as Te Ana Falls can be accessed from the same walking track. Follow the main track from the carpark for the first 10 minutes, and choose the other track when you meet the fork in the trail. Walk on for another 5 minutes from the junction to reach the small oasis that is home to the 20m high waterfall. Admire its beauty from the base, and make sure you have you camera in hand to snap pics of its glory.
A massively popular summer spot, Maraetotara Falls is a must-visit for those who want to take a dip into paradise. Hop in the car and take a short drive from Havelock North, and you will spot a carpark on Maraetotara Road. Follow the wooden stairs, and set off on the Historic Walk for 10 minutes until you reach the base of the waterfall. Make sure you have your bathing suit handy as there is a brilliant swimming hole at the base of the waterfall – perfect way to cool off on a scorching summers day.
Set in Napier's Centennial Gardens. this is a man-made waterfall that tumbles 40 metres down a mossy rockface to the pool at the base. You can see the falls from the street, but the short walk to the falls is a must. The gardens and waterfall are less than 1km from the Napier i-SITE, and easily accessible.
Just sneaking inside the Hawke's Bay region boundary on SH2 (Napier-Taupo Road) are the Waipunga Falls - easily viewable from a carpark just off the main highway. Be sure to walk around the viewing spot to ensure you also see the neighbouring Waiarua Falls. Note, the carpark access is located in the middle of a particularly fast stretch of the highway, so are best viewed when travelling from Taupo to Napier as vehicles can safely pull off to the left. Look for the "Scenic Lookout" sign approximately 400m back from the carpark towards Taupo - an approximate 50km drive from Taupo.
Te Reinga Falls
North of Wairoa are the 35-metre Te Reinga Falls, fed by the merging Hangaroa and Ruakituri Rivers just above. The falls are a roughly 25-30 minute drive north of Wairoa - take SH38 to Frasertown before turning right into Tinoroto Road. Stay on Tinoroto Road for approximately 25km until you reach Te Reinga, where you turn left in Ruakituri Road and cross the bridge over the river. The carpark is on your left at the end of the bridge, where it's just a few minutes' walk to the lookout.
Found in Te Urerewa near Lake Waikaremoana, a series of waterfalls make for an incredible day trip for those staying in the Wairoa district. Make your way to the Aniwaniwa Visitor Centre - approxiately 60mins drive north of Wairoa on SH38. Note, much of the drive is unsealed and is a particularly windy road, so considerable care is required.
There are two options to see the waterfalls - details thanks to waterfalls.co.nz
A walking 20-minutes return Aniwaniwa Falls loop track starts from the parking, follows the true left stream bank and leads to the waterfall’s lookout. 5-minutes after beginning of the track you should reach a sign 'Bridal Veil Falls' – a 5-minute return side-track. 5-7 minutes past this side-track is the lookout which provides a great view of both upper and lower falls. Some people descend to the lower waterfall’s base from here. If you decide to do so, please be very careful. Return via the same track or do it as a loop.
The shorter second option: from the car park cross the stream via a vehicle-bridge and walk along the road until you see a sign ‘Aniwaniwa Falls Track’. Turn left into the track and in 5 minutes you reach an Upper Falls lookout. From here, you can see both upper cascades and the upper falls. Continue on to the track until you reach a Lower Falls lookout. Return via the same track.
Sometimes what starts out as a casual trip to a waterfall, turns into a crazy adventure, so it's best to be prepared!
Make sure to bring...
Sunblock & hat
Warm jacket (just in case)
Sturdy footwear (some of the walks are a little more challenging)
Road trip snacks
Most importantly don't forget a good playlist!