Tarawera Falls, Bay of Plenty Region

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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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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
28 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • August 13, 2017
    Went to Tarawera falls and was really impressed. They appear from a hole in the rock and the volume of water coming down is incredible. Need a permit from the information centre at kawerau.  more »
  • March 31, 2017
    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 »
  • March 4, 2017
    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 »

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