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 – around another 2 hours one way.
Note: There is structural damage on the Tarawera Falls Track. The track has been re-routed to allow access to and from the falls however, take care.
Facilities: A toilet is located at the carpark. There is a viewing area with a seat at the falls.
Access to Tarawera Outlet is from Kawerau township (off SH 30 between Rotorua and Whakatāne) via private forestry roads which require permits. The forest gate is closed during the hours of darkness. The forest road may be closed in summer when fire risk is high.
You'll need to get a permit to access Tarawera Falls and Tarawera Outlet. Use of the private forestry roads including overnight parking in the forest is at the discretion of the forestry owners. Check the conditions of your forestry permit.
You can also order it from the local visitor centre.
Kawerau i-SITE Visitor Information Centre
Plunket Street, Kawerau 3127
Phone: +64 7 323 6300
Opening hours for Kawerau i-SITE Visitor Information Centre
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.