Tarawera Falls Track

Track category

Short walk


20 min one way


700 m


Part of Virtually on Track - Discover, Explore, Connect

Follow the track that leaves the carpark heading upstream along the Tarawera River. You will reach a bridge crossing over Tarawera River and the track continues upstream until you arrive at the falls viewing area where you can fully appreciate their splendour. Signs at the viewpoint explain the cultural and natural significance of the area. 

Back-track to return to the carpark or continue along the tramping track to Tarawera Outlet (approximately another 2 hours one way).

Facilities: A toilet is located at the carpark. There is a viewing area with a seat at the falls.

Getting there

Access to Tarawera Outlet is from Kawerau township (off SH 30 between Rotorua and Whakatane) via private forestry roads which require permits. A map & 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.

Access permits

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
Email: kawerauinfo@xtra.co.nz
Open daily 9am - 4pm (8am - 6pm from December 15th to January 29th)

Also available online on the Kawarau online website.

Lake Tarawera transport options

There are a number of concessionaires that run either boat or helicopter transport around the Rotorua Lakes area, creating a variety of options for connecting trails or getting to/from campsites. View guides and tourism providers for Lake Tarawera.

About the area

Tarawera Falls.
Tarawera Falls

The spectacular Tarawera Falls — where water surges out of fissures in a large rock cliff-face surrounded by native bush. The cliff is the end of an ancient rhyolitic lava flow that is believed to have poured from an erupting Mt Tarawera about 11,000 years ago. An abrupt stop to the flow produced these high cliffs.

Vegetation here has developed since the 1886 Tarawera eruption. Both pohutukawa and rata are found. An unusual feature is the range of hybrids between these two closely related species that occurs in the area. Evidence of this interbreeding can be seen in the variety of different leaf shapes found on the forest floor here.

Plan and prepare

You need to be well prepared when tramping on conservation land, especially on the longer day walks.  Ensure you have strong, comfortable boots, warm clothing, a good raincoat, first aid kit, plenty of food and drink, a hat and sunscreen.  It is also advisable to leave your tramping intentions with a responsible person, in case you get lost.  

back to top


Find out more


DOC maps: Discover the outdoors - DOC's key places, campsites, tracks and huts, and visitor centres on a map


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 Bay of Plenty places


Rotorua Office
Phone:      +64 7 349 7400
Email:   rotorua@doc.govt.nz
Full office details

Give feedback on a recent visit to a DOC place