White water rafting, Okere Falls Scenic Reserve
Image: Ronald Woan | Creative Commons

Introduction

This reserve has significant Maori cultural and spiritual value and features the waterfalls of the Kaituna River, including the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world.

Place overview

Activities

  • Fishing
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Rafting
  • Walking and tramping
  • Check clean dry
    Stop the spread of didymo and other freshwater pests.

    Remember to Check, Clean, Dry all items before entering, and when moving between, waterways.

Find things to do Okere Falls Scenic Reserve

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About track difficulties

Fishing

Fishing is popular below the waterfalls.

Rafting

Rafting can be experienced through a variety of commercial companies.

Kayaking and canoeing

Kayaking for the very experienced only.

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    About this place

    History and culture

    Flowing through the Okere Falls Scenic Reserve, which is rich in resources, the Kaituna River has been highly valued by the people of the area for centuries.

    This reserve has significant Maori cultural and spiritual value.

    The river name ‘Kaituna’ (kai = food, tuna = eels) reveals much about its significance as a food source. Below the four main waterfalls are numerous large eel holes. Further down the river, whitebait were caught in great numbers, koura (freshwater crayfish) were another local delicacy. 

    Innumerable battles have been fought on its shores to guard the important food sources.

    The river was the site of New Zealand's first hydro-electic power station.

    It is the traditional river of Ngati Pikiao, who have made their home here for many years. In 1984, the Waitangi Tribunal confirmed Ngati Pikiao as the traditional owners of the river.

    Getting there

    Drive out of Rotorua on SH 30 towards Whakatane or the Airport. At turn off go straight ahead on SH 33 towards Tauranga. Trout Pool road is on the left after 8 km.

    Know before you go

    Stop the spread of Rotorua pest fish brochure.
    Stop the spread of Rotorua pest fish brochure. View larger (PDF, 1,110K)

    Dangerously strong currents and waterfalls. Please keep to the track.

    Stop the spread and keep Rotorua lakes free of pest fish

    Report any sightings of koi carp (3-70 cm) or catfish (3-40 cm). Other fish of particular concern are rudd and gambusia.

    You can help by photographing any specimens caught and forwarding to your local DOC office and by following Check Clean Dry protocols.

    Invasive species are a problem because they reduce water quality and can compete with native species and trout.

    For further information, or to report suspicious fish, contact your local DOC office or phone 0800 DOC HOT.

    Contacts

    Rotorua Office
    Phone:   +64 7 349 7400
    Email:   rotorua@doc.govt.nz
    Address:   99 Sala Street
    Rotorua 3010
    Full office details
    Rotorua i-SITE Visitor Information Centre
    Phone:   +64 7 351 7324
    Email:   rotoruavisitor@doc.govt.nz
    Address:   1167 Fenton St
    Rotorua
    Full office details
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