DOC worker James Willcocks standing in front of Tarawera Falls
The track begins at the Tarawera Outlet swingbridge. Cross the bridge and take the right hand track at the junction. The track meanders through the native bush, largely following the river. Caution is advised for those wishing to swim in the river beside this track, due to underwater currents and the nature of the river. However, popular swimming spot approximately 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. 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 Tarawera Outlet is from Kawerau township (off SH30 between Rotorua and Whakatane) via private forestry roads which require permits. A map and directions are avaliable at the Kawerau Information Centre. The forest gate is closed during the hours of darkness. The forest road may be closed in summer when fire risk is high.
Permits cost $5 and must be collected on the day of entering the forest roads from:
Kawerau Information Centre
Plunket St, Kawerau
+64 7 323 6300
Open 9 am - 4 pm in the winter and 8 am - 7 pm in the summer.