Discover captivating waterfalls around Rotorua – from the hot water Kakahi Falls to the mighty Tutea Falls – the waterfalls in and around Rotorua offer a breathtaking and enchanting beauty that should not be missed.
1. Tarawera Falls
2. Kakahi Falls
3. Tutea Falls
4. Cascade Falls
5. Wairere Falls
Water surges out of cracks high in a cliff face, forming this spectacular 65-metre (203-foot) waterfall. The cliff is believed to have been created by a lava flow from a Mt Tarawera eruption that took place around 11,000 years ago. Located in the Lake Tarawera Scenic Reserve, the track to the waterfall begins from the Tarawera Falls carpark and is an easy and beautiful 20-minute walk one way.
A permit issued by Kawerau i-SITE Visitor Information Centre 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.
Kakahi Falls is the largest hot waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere, and is surrounded by amazing geothermal features such as bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles.
An easy walk leads you to the waterfall’s lookout. The whole walk through native bush and geothermal landscapes takes roughly 45 minutes, but you’ll reach the waterfall within the first 10 minutes.
As this waterfall is situated in the privately owned, 20-hectare (50-acre) geothermal area of Hell's Gate, there is an admission fee. Guests can purchase tickets for the geothermal walk alone, or add on access to soak in the world-famous geothermal mud baths and mineral hot pools.
3. Tutea Falls
Among the waterfalls that Rotorua is known for, Tutea Falls stands out as the most impressive. Plummeting seven metres (23 feet), it is the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. If whitewater rafting isn't your thing, you can now zipline over the Kaituna River or view the falls from the platform on the Okere Falls Track.
Cascade Falls is a 10-metre-high (32 feet) cascading waterfall flowing over rock formations covered in moss and ferns. The track to the falls, called Te Auheke (meaning 'tumbling water'), starts behind the cabins at Okataina Outdoor Education & Recreation Trust, to the right of the parking lot for the Western Okataina Walkway. Allow 30-40 minutes to complete the easy 1.3km (0.8 miles) loop.
Located within the Buried Village of Te Wairoa, Wairere Falls (pictured at top) plunges 30 metres (98 feet) over the Waitoharuru Cliffs. Take the steps down to the bottom of the waterfall and look up to capture the Fall's stunning beauty. Allow 20 minutes for the trail and you'll need suitable walking shoes.