Tarawera Outlet to Falls Track

Track category

Walking track


2 hr one way


5 km


James Willcocks and Tarawera Falls.
DOC worker James Willcocks standing
in front of the amazing Tarawera Falls

Part of Virtually on Track - Discover, Explore, Connect

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 1/2 hours 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.

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
Open 9am - 4pm in the winter and 8am - 7pm in the summer.

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.

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, 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.

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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

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