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Wairere Falls Walk

Home  »  North Island Walks  »  Matamata  »  Wairere Falls Walk – Walk detail

Wairere Falls is quite a hard walk but well worth the effort to get to the top of the waterfall with fantastic views of the Waikato region. At 3.9ks you’ll need just under 2 hours to walk one way to the top of Wairere Falls. The return hike to the viewing platform at the base of the Wairere falls takes about an hour and a half. It’s a nice easy walk along a well maintained track through native bush. Several bridges cross the stream with nice views of the stream and occasionally the falls.

The view of the falls at the platform is spectacular – water plunges 153 metres over the falls making it the highest water fall on the North Island.

It’s a 15min, 14k drive from Matamata to the start of the Wairere Falls Track. If you don’t have any transport but would still love to hike the falls then you can take a tour from Hamilton: The Waterfall Day Trip with Hike, Lunch and Tastings also goes to the stunning crystal clear waters of the Blue Springs River Walk.

Quick Facts

        • Location: West side of Kaimai Range south of Te Aroha
        • Distance: 5 kms
        • Time needed: 3-5 hours return
        • Difficulty: Medium
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: One Way
        • Elevation: 400m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: Yes
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: Yes
        • Last Updated: November, 2019
  • Track Highlights

    Narrow gorge, waterfall and fantastic views of the Waikato. Great views over the valley. Spectacular water fall, stream and native bush. The more intrepid can trek a further 30 – 45 minutes up a steeper track with lots of stairs to another lookout at the top of the falls. There is a fantastic view over the Waikato plains. It is about two hours from the base of the falls to this further lookout. From here, there is a less maintained track that continues to the North-South track along the summit of the Kaimai Range.

  • Track Quality

    Good. Very little mud. Two bridges and 121 steps, with a stair case.

  • Hazards

    90m drop from the top of the falls! Track steep with steps in places, mainly from the bottom to the top of the falls. Stay away from the cliff edges.

  • Transport


  • Water

    Drink only from the river, so long as no one is having a swim. Bring your own.

  • Driving Instructions

    Matamata. At the southern end of town. On the main Rd to Tauranga, turn onto Tower Rd. This road will take you out to the Opal hot pools.
    At Okauia Springs Rd, 3.4 Ks – turn right.
    At Old Te Aroha Rd, 7.4 Ks – turn left
    At Goodwin Rd,  13.7 Ks – turn right.
    The car park is 0.7 Ks. Watch out for the farmer

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    Matamata or Te Aroha

  • Area & Track History


  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Wairere Falls Walk

    Map of walk

Points of interest along the walk

In the map above, if you zoom in on the walk, you’ll see all the following track points and their location. Each point has photos along with a description about each one.

Point 1: Car park is the start of the Wairere Falls Walk

The car park has a security camera hidden in the trees; well that is what the sign said. The start is easy to find, walk to the southern end of the car park. Down to the sign post. The lookout is 45mins.

Point 2: Into the bush on the Wairere Falls Walk

Into the bush and turn to the right. You will walk up through very interesting bush and rocky ground, don’t even think of calling into the toilet long drop. Only fit for blow flies. You should have gone before you left town!

Point 3: First bridge on the Wairere Falls Walk

After 5 mins you will cross a bridge. Then a little bush and farm walking. Pass the Old Maori track on your right, which is very steep and very very slippery after a little rain and over grown in places.

Point 4: Second bridge on the Wairere Falls Walk

After another 5 mins walking you will cross the second bridge and the third etc. The track will lead you under and around rocky out crops covered in moss and dark green ferns. There is this one corner, when you walk around it, you get this aerie feeling there is a dinosaur waiting to say Hi welcome to my neighbourhood, please stay for dinner!

Point 5: A few steps up the well built staircase

The creek follows the track most of the way to the 121 steps, so take some time, set up the tripod and try a couple of time exposures of the waterfalls. Should I tell you about the 121 steps, up the new wooden stair case, its well built, OK, I won’t. The last 10 mins to the lookout might make you sweat a little.

Point 6: First lookout – not at the top of Wairere Falls yet

Take the turn off to the lookout to the left, it’s not a big sign, so look where you are going. Take a break at the lookout, take a photo or two, sit down on the bench seats and enjoy the view of the waterfalls. Back to the main track, the first 20 mins is an uphill climb, not too hard. You will pass the turn off to the old Maori track after 5 min. This track is over grown and is a very slippery clay base all the way to the bottom.

Point 7: Summit and top of the Wairere Falls

At the top, turn left at the creek, a 2 min walk to the falls. There is a small platform and seats so you can enjoy the view. A strong and cold wind can power over the top of the falls, so get the warm jacket out. Back at the creek the track carries on to the right, it is a good walk along the creek. You will see a vast change in the bush. But don’t go too far, a taxi back from Tauranga might set you back a few dollars!

All walks in Matamata…

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