Dawson Falls Roadend

Introduction

A pleasant drive to 900 metres above sea level on Mt Taranaki’s south eastern slopes brings you to Dawson Falls Roadend.

This is the starting point for many walks on this side of the mountain. You can also visit a rare working example of a simple hydro-electric power station.

Features

Dawson Falls (Te rere o Kapuni) Visitor Centre

Dawson Falls visitor centre.
Dawson Falls Visitor Centre

From the visitor centre there are wonderful day walks and overnight tramps to nearby huts. DOC staff are there Thursday to Sunday and public holidays to offer information on the walks and weather conditions.

The onsite interpretation and displays are provided to add to the visitor experience. These include the old Syme Hut which has been rebuilt in the visitor centre. Here you will find the answers to many questions about the mountain and its history…and just how did Fanthams Peak get its name?

The most recent addition to Dawson Falls is the magnificent eight metre carved Pou Whenua. This symbolises the link that Maori have with the land and their story of ancient people who have lived under the shadow of the mountain.

Historic Power House

Dawson Falls powerr station.
The Dawson Falls power station

Visit one of the oldest power generators in New Zealand. The generator is one of New Zealand's oldest still operating, and one of just a few of any great age in the country.

It was built by the General Electric Company, New York, USA, no earlier than 1896. Originally used for power generation in Tasmania, it was sold to the New Zealand Army for use at the Trentham Military Camp near Wellington until the eventual arrival of mains power to the Wellington Region in 1922.

The generator was eventually purchased by the Egmont National Park Board and installed at Dawson Falls and an official opening took place on the 30th June 1934. On the 21st of  February 1935 a huge flood nearly carried it away. It was then relocated to its present location.

The Dawson Falls power station has provided heating and lighting more or less continuously since 1935 by way of a pelton wheel, which turns 300 revolutions per minute, giving an output of 27 kilowatts of electricity. See historic information about Dawson Falls Power Station.

Dawson Falls 

Dawson Falls.
Dawson Falls

This stunning waterfall is located within walking distance (10 minutes) of the Dawson Falls Visitor Centre in Egmont National Park.

Local Maori legend tell us how it was given its Maori name, Te Rere ‘O’ Noke. “There was a warrior who had done a great mischief and was running from his would be killers and hid behind the then 18 metre waterfall to hide from his pursuers. They ran past and did not find him, so he escaped to the east coast. When the others heard of how he had escaped them they named the falls after him “The Falls of Noke”.

The first European to see the falls was Thomas Dawson. He nearly fell over them when he was exploring up the Kapuni River. He built a small hut nearby as he spent many long hours on the mountain exploring. Today the falls still bear his name, as does the tourist lodge 600 m up the road from the falls.

Location

Located on the south eastern slopes of Mt Taranaki, in Egmont National Park.

Getting there

Dawson Falls sits at the top end of Manaia Road 14 km from Kaponga. The drive to the roadend is through scenic native forest. Kaponga is an easy drive west of Stratford and Eltham.

Activities

Scenic and nature tours Scenic and nature tours

Scenic and nature tours

Manaia Road winds uphill through ancient forest, revealing tree-framed views of Mt Taranaki along the way.

Places to stay


At Dawson Falls, there is accommodation available at Konini Lodge.

Alternatively, the Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge provides higher quality tourist accommodation.

Plan and prepare

Weather on Mt Taranaki is very changeable and difficult to predict. It is advisable to carry enough clothing and equipment to ensure you are prepared for any weather type, and to enjoy your stay.

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.

Location map

Location map of Dawson Falls roadend.


Related link

Dawson Falls - East Egmont Roadend walks factsheet and map (PDF, 1050K)

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Safety

Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for Taranaki places

Contacts

Dawson Falls Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 27 443 0248
Address:   Manaia Rd
Kaponga
Email:   egmontvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details