Wairere Falls

Highest waterfall in the North Island, near Tauranga

Wairere Falls Track - North Island's Highest Waterfall

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If you love tall waterfalls, you may be interested in the Wairere Falls. Located on the opposite side of the Kaimai Ranges, near Te Aroha, this is the tallest and one of the most attractive waterfalls in the North Island of New Zealand.

Wairere Falls is located in the Kaimai Ranges

Located in the Kaimai Ranges, Wairere Falls is considered the tallest waterfall in New Zealand. The waterfall is situated on a stream called Wairere and falls over a fault line that separates the Kaimai Range and the Hauraki Plains. This fault causes the Hauraki Plains to sink by around 2 mm every year. The waterfall has two cascades, one at the bottom and one higher at the top.

Taking the time to visit Wairere Falls is a great way to get a sense of the region’s natural beauty, especially at the top of the falls. The waterfall is surrounded by dense native bush, which makes for a lush canopy above your head. This means you’ll be having to watch for certain tree roots on the track.

Other notable things of interest are the plants such as ferns, large boulders and moss covered rocks. Passing through

If you have a moderate level of fitness, this walk is well worth it. This is certainly one of the fantastic walking trails.

The Wairere Falls Track

You can access Wairere Falls walk from Goodwin Road, which is located east of Matamata. The route follows a north-south track through the Kaimai Ranges, passing the lower lookout.

Wairere Falls boasts a height of 153m – of course, with such a height comes a moderately difficult walk. To reach the top of this waterfall, not only takes time, but some effort too. Regardless, the effort is truly worth it when gazing over the magnificent views.

The track itself is well maintained and easy going. You’ll need roughly 2 hours to reach the top of this fantastic water fall. The track is around 3.9kms long. Of course, the time it takes is based on personal fitness levels. For some, maybe about an hour.

There is a viewing platform about half way up, this allows you to view the waterfall in its entirety. This halfway point still requires a reasonable level of fitness and/or time. The awesome Wairere Waterfall is about 45 minutes away from Tauranga and about 15 minutes away from Matamata. A car park is easily seen and accessed upon arriving.

What you'll see along the track

The walking track from the car park to the top of the waterfall can be looked at as if it is two separate parts. The first part of the track is generally thought to end when reaching the first lookout. The beginning part of this track is well formed and an enjoyable walk.

The track winds through wonderful native bush groves, where as mentioned, you’ll pass by moss covered rocks, tree roots and other things to take note of with a keen eye.

There are groves(groups of trees planted closely together) of nikau, puriri and kohekohe alongside the route. You’ll also discover several small wooden bridges crossing over the river. These can provide you with stunning views up and down the river, witnessing the water flow.

As you continue on, you’ll be mostly amongst a bush walk until you reach the first falls lookout. Where you have a view of the entire falls.

The top of the falls has insane views over the Waikato plains. The waterfall edge can be tempting for more of a view, but stay smart and keep your distance.

Quick Information about Wairere Falls Walking Track

  • Location: Wairere Waterfall, Goodwin Road, Okauia (West side of Kaimai Ranges, south of Te Aroha)
  • Difficulty: Medium/Moderate
  • Track: Well Maintained Track although there are tree roots during this uphill climb
  • Time: 2-5 hours (Based on personal fitness and reasons for walking)
  • Length: 5 km Return 
  • Route: One Way
  • Elevation: 400m
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Cellphone: Yes
  • Dogs: No Dogs
  • Nearest Town: Matamata
  • Nearest City: Tauranga
  • Fault Line: Okauia Fault Line
  • Footwear: Appropriate footwear must be worn to avoid cold tired feet
  • Clothing: Warm clothing, especially during winter

About the waterfall drop of Wairere Falls

The Wairere Waterfall is the highest waterfall in the North Island of New Zealand. This waterfall plunges 153 metres. The waterfall’s natural beauty is enough to make it a must-see when visiting the area. The Kaimai escarpment provides a stunning backdrop for a spectacular waterfall. Here, visitors can enjoy the dramatic scenery while getting a feel for New Zealand’s unique landscape.

To access the waterfall, hikers can use the easily accessible track, which is well-established but can be a bit rugged. The track follows the bolder-filled river, and then gradually climbs to the first viewing platform. A steeper section follows the ridge line, where you can get a closer look at the waterfall. 

The Wairere track is not suitable for strollers and wheelchairs, but the waterfall’s spectacular cascades will impress you.

Read here for some extra history about Wairere Waterfall.

Map and Directions for Wairere Falls

Wairere Falls Image Gallery

Image Gallery coming soon.

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