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Aniwaniwa Falls, Te Urewera

Aniwaniwa Falls, Te Urewera. Photo: Pat Barrett
Te Urewera National Park
A signposted walkway exists on both sides of the bridge over Aniwaniwa Stream^ just north of the Waikaremoana Visitor Centre

In the north-eastern corner of Lake Waikaremoana, in Te Urewera National Park, the sinuous Aniwaniwa Stream enters the lake through a small cove.

While this peaceful interface of river, lake and bush is picturesque, the main attraction lies further back and up the hill from where the river passes beneath the Waikaremoana Road bridge.

Beside the bridge, a trail enters the rainforest and descends through a series of steps and zigzags to the cove. As it does so, it passes beside, and almost beneath, a set of magnificent cascades. There are three cascades in all which have become known as the Aniwaniwa Falls, meaning rainbow, but each has a separate identity – the Momahaki Falls, 11m; the Te Tangi-o-Hinerau Falls at a similar height, and the Bridal Veil Falls at 15m. Each has a special charm, which together with the luxuriant vegetation, native bird life, and sound and smell of the spray, make a remarkable setting for this bush walk.

If the experience of the triple falls has not satiated your desire for plunging curtains of water, then take Aniwaniwa Road, just beside the visitor centre, for 1.5km to a car park and five minute walk to the grand old mother fall on this river: the 20m Papakorito Falls. They plunge off an escarpment into a large forest-fringed pool accessed from the walking track.