Tarawera Falls, Bay of Plenty Region

#10 of 23 in Trails in Bay of Plenty Region
Tarawera Falls is a 65 m high waterfall on the Tarawera River in the Bay of Plenty region in New Zealand's North Island.

The Tarawera River flows out of Lake Tarawera and across a rhyolitic lava flow that erupted from Mt Tarawera about 11,000 years ago. The river disappears about 30 metres back from the clifftop into flooded caves in the lava and pours out halfway up the cliff on the far side of the flow.
After rain, part of the flow passes over the top of the cliff as a 65 m tall companion fall.

Access is from the town of Kawerau and is a drive of about 45 minutes over unsealed roads, followed by a walk of about 20 minutes. A forestry access permit is required, available from the Information Centre in Kawerau.
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Tarawera Falls Reviews

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44 reviews
  • Proud of where we live. Ko Tarawera toku Awa💖 nice place to take the family for a day out, take nice pics, stop for a swim & picnic. You can walk/run from falls to Tarawera Lake. Our Beautiful river  more »
  • I call it a hidden gem, as it was down an unsealed forest road for nearly 20 miles, and that must put people off. But it is well worth it, as the waterfalls are magnificent. From the carpark you walk....  more »
  • Awesome waterfalls with a twist. You have to get a permit to visit and it's a fair drive on gravel logging roads but it's well worth it. 20 minute walk from the car park up to the falls which is pretty easy and spectacular along the beautifuly clear river - I've done it with a buggy too so no excuse not to bring the little ones. How spectacular the falls are largely depends on how much rain there has been lately, I've visited when only the lower waterfall was working but the last visit it was 'pumping'. You can walk up the hill from the falls to the cascade where there's smaller falls you can get closer to and also marvel at the volume of water that just dissappears into the ground. If you have more time & someone to pick you up you can walk all the way to the Tarawera lake outlet.
  • Absolutely amazing and beautiful place! It is basically in the middle of nowhere and you have to travel quite some distance on a gravel road after which it is a 20 minute walk. The water is mostly clear and you can see the river bed as well. The falls are simply magnificient . Highly recommended if you are in Rotorua.
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