Tarawera Falls

Image: D. Strachan | DOC


See the Tarawera River disappearing underground at various sites before it re-emerges through the spectacular Tarawera Falls through narrow fissures in a fractured rhyolite lava cliff.

Track overview

5 km one way

Walking and tramping

2 hr Easy: Walking track

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


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.

Getting there

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.

Access permits

Permits to the Tarawera Falls and Tarawera Outlet cost $10 per vehicle.

Where to get a permit: 

Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 5 pm

Maori Investments Limited
Address: Waterhouse Street Extension, Kawerau
Email: info@maoriinvestments.co.nz
Website: Māori Investments Limited

Weekends and public holidays

Order online in advance: Māori Investments Limited

Or from:

Kawerau i-SITE Visitor Information Centre
Plunket Street, Kawerau 3127
Phone: +64 7 323 6300
Email: infocentre@kaweraudc.govt.nz
Opening hours for Kawerau i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Know before you go

Where the track skirts the top of Tarawera Falls, it's possible to reach the cliff-face with high drop-offs. Stay behind barriers, keep to the track, and keep your children safe


Rotorua i-SITE Visitor Information Centre
Phone:   +64 7 351 7324
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   rotoruavisitor@doc.govt.nz
Address:   1167 Fenton St
Postal Address:   Private Bag 3007
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