Tarawera Falls, Bay of Plenty Region

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#10 of 16 in Trails in Bay of Plenty Region
Waterfall Hiking Trail
Tarawera Falls is a 35 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.Māori historyThe Te Arawa and Ngāti Awa tribes have traditional associations with this site. Ngāti Rangitihi, one of the eight Te Arawa tribal groups, are the current guardians of the area and consider the site of the waterfall a sacred place.Fauna and floraThe vegetation in the area has only developed since the 1886 Tarawera eruption and contains an unusual range of hybrids between pohutukawa and rata. Migrating eels swim as far up as the waterfall and can sometimes be seen on the weastern side of the falls searching for a way further upstream.
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  • To access these fall's from what I understand there are two option's. 1) Getting a water taxi across Lake Tarawera to Tapahoro Bay / Tarawera Outlet Campground then approx. 1 1/2 walk one way. 2) Driv...  more »
  • We were staying in Rotorua and planned on visiting Tarawera Falls by driving around to Kawerau and picking up a permit as others have mentioned. However, the owner of our motel told us you could take ...  more »
  • The falls are not gigantic. They have a pretty scenic background. You cannot play at the falls but you can play at the rivers after the falls. The hike in was 30mins and easy.  more »