IntroductionSee the Tarawera River disappearing underground at various sites before it re-emerges through the spectacular Tarawera Falls through narrow fissures in a fractured rhyolite lava cliff.
The track begins at the Tarawera Outlet bridge. Cross the bridge and take the right hand track at the junction. The track meanders through the native bush, largely following the river.
If you're going to swim beside the track we recommend caution, due to underwater currents and the nature of the river. However, a popular swimming spot is around 1 hour 30 minutes from the Outlet, at a wider and shallower stretch of the river where the water runs more gently.
Shortly afterwards, the track divides for a brief distance before both tracks rejoin. The track then zigzags down a steep escarpment to a viewing area at the base of the falls.
Where the track skirts the top of Tarawera Falls, it's possible to reach the cliff-face with high drop-offs. Stay behind barriers, keep to the track and keep your children supervised.
The Waterfall Road carpark is a short 20 minute walk past the falls. For those wanting to picnic beside the river, there is a beautiful spot just 100 metres back along Waterfall Road from the carpark.
Facilities: Toilets are located at Tarawera Outlet and at the Tarawera Falls carpark. There is a viewing area with a seat at the falls.
Access to the Tarawera Falls carpark is from Kawerau township (off SH30 between Rotorua and Whakatane) via private forestry roads. A permit is required and access is only available for Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. The forest gate is closed during the hours of darkness. The forest road may be closed in summer when fire risk is high. A map and directions are available at the Kawerau Information Centre.
You'll need to get a permit to access Tarawera Falls carpark. Use of the private forestry roads including overnight parking in the forest is at the discretion of the forestry owners. Check the conditions of your forestry permit.
You can also order it from the local visitor centre.
Kawerau isite Visitor Information Centre
Plunket Street, Kawerau 3127
Phone: +64 7 323 6300
Opening hours for Kawerau isite Visitor Information Centre
There is a risk of falling on sections of this track due to cliffs. Keep to the marked track and avoid cliff edges. Keep children within sight and do not let them near edges.