Home / Trips / Bay of Plenty

Te Tapahoro Bay via Tarawera Falls, Lake Tarawera Scenic Reserve

Tarawera Falls. Photo: Josh Gale
Lake Tarawera Scenic Reserve
4hr return
Private forestry roads. Permit ($5), plus map and directions available at the Kawerau Information Centre, Plunket St
GPX File
Te Tapahoro Bay_via_Tarawera Falls (gpx, yo 6 KB)
Your device does not support GPX files. Please try a different device.

From the track start it’s a 20 minute walk through native bush to reach the falls. These are spectacular – reminiscent of Taupo’s Huka Falls. A torrent of white water spurts out of fissures in a rock face that juts out of native bush.

It’s possible to walk off the track down onto the riverbed and up close to the falls to get an even more impressive vantage point.

From the falls continues alongside the Tarawera River and passes a few smaller waterfalls, one of which violently spits the river through a narrow gorge, turning the water into a swirling white froth.

The track between the falls and Te Tapahoro Bay is relatively flat and makes easy walking as it passes through stunning bush. Pohutukawa, rata and hybrids of the two dominate the relatively young forest which has regenerated after the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera. Large rocks on either side of the path reminded of the area’s volcanic history.

The majestic and historic Mt Tarawera stands above the campsite at Te Tapahoro Bay. The mountain is off limits as it is on the private land of Ngati Rangitihi and access to the summit is managed by the iwi. Ngati Rangitihi say independent public access was stopped in 2000 because the mountain, a sacred burial ground, was being disrespected and desecrated. More than 10 tons of rubbish was removed from the mountain.

Support Wilderness

Since 1991, Wilderness has had one simple goal: to help Kiwis ‘See more, do more, live more’ of New Zealand.

If you value our mission, please consider subscribing. As a loyal supporter, you’ll receive these benefits:

  • New Zealand’s best outdoor journalism We’ve won multiple awards for our journalism and magazine production.
  • NZ’s best trips. Browse more than 610 trips with downloadable maps and route notes.
  • Trustworthy gear reviews. Each month we review gear we’ve been bashing and thrashing for months so you can determine if its worth your money.
  • Member benefits. Our WildCard provides discounts at more than 20 partners throughout New Zealand.
  • Your support goes a long way. Your subscription will help us fund NZ’s best outdoor journalists and writers and ensure Wilderness will be there to inspire the next generation of outdoor Kiwis.

A subscription costs as little as $7.00/month for instant access to all articles, trips, gear reviews and gear guides.

View all our subscription options and join the club.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.