Tarawera Falls, one of the best walks in New Zealand

From the Kiwi Annison Archives…..

In December 2010 we made a special visit to Lake Tarawera’s eastern shores.

We had previously been to the western side of the lake (read Lake Tarawera and the Buried Village) but the journey to Tarawera Outlet required us to travel via Kawerau (off SH 30 between Rotorua and Whakatane) where we had to obtain a permit to travel on the private forestry road to the lake.Our destination was the DOC lakeside campsite and we were all set up in time to enjoy an evening walk with the most spectacular sunset show.

The large campsite is run by the Department of Conservation (Read more about staying at DOC sites here Get Docked Up) and situated beside the lake and the Tarawera river.

It is a popular site for fishing and water sports plus the start of one of the greatest walks I think I’ve ever done in my life – the Tarawera Outlet to Falls track.

The walk takes you through native bush that for the most part skims the edge of the clear Tarawera River. There is an accessible and tempting swimming hole at one point, just before the waters go underground for a time.

The scenery is stunning at all times and glimpses of river, cascades and falls along the way add to the magical feel of the area.  

A tempting swimming hole

Small cascades we pass en-route

A small un-named falls en-route

A glimpse through the bush shows the next valley

Tarawera Falls

The impressive and unique falls emerge through the rock face rather than over the top

On the way back to the campsite we stop for a paddle in the cool clear waters


The bridge back into the campsite and Mt. Tarawera towering above

Campsite fun – playing in the Tarawera River

Tarawera River




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2 responses to “Tarawera Falls, one of the best walks in New Zealand”

  1. Lorraine Merton says :

    Hi there. Just joined your page to read your travel blog. Yes I have tramped the Tarawera track with some friends. I think we left from Lake Okataina and a bus met us past the falls at the end and took us to Kawarau. I thiought it was a great tramp too. It was great looking at your photos and seeing where I’d been, as it was a while ago.
    Funny you have only been North as far as Wellsford, as that’s where we used to farm (at Port Albert), but are now on ‘the other side of the hill’ at Sandspit.
    Some of our favourite places to go in our bus, Second Fiddle, are Matai Bay, DOC camp, Whananaki, also a DOC camp, and funnily enough, also a DOC camp, Whangaruru North. Our latest absolute gem we have just discovered is Kirita Bay, along the coast from Thames, right by the water, through a farm. Magic!!!
    Our favourite in SI has to be Okiwi Bay in the Malborough Sounds.
    We have done a little bit of The Rail Trail, and hopefully in October going down to SI again, finances allowing! So hope to do a bit more.
    My real thing to do, is the new Hauraki Rail Trail, I think it is called. A real variation of sights on that trail. Oh, so much to do in this wonderful country of ours, so little time! You just have to ‘do it’!!!
    Well I’m starting to ramble on as if I’m doing a blog, so will end here. All the best with your travels, and I look forward to reading more.
    Lorraine Merton

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