Historically important as an traditional eeling location the Falls are a major tourist drawcard. The Hatea River is part of a collection of Whangarei city walks. The horseshoe falls are a spectacular steady flow forming an approximately 26.3 km drop over basalt cliffs creating a mist from the released water reaching the base pools. The landscaped surrounds are in excellent condition. The walk starts at the public car park and crosses the river above the waterfall via a metal bridge.
The bridge has been designed for flood water to run over it and there is no handrail. Some people may not feel comfortable using it. The surfaced walkway continues through the reserve and down a flight of steps to the base of the falls where there is a picnic table and viewing area. The base of the falls does not have any fencing between the water and the viewing area. Exercise caution as the rocks are slippery with mist from the falls. A bridge across the river leads to the walkway which zig-zags back up the hill through mature bush to the car park. The car park and facilities are great, there is even a paid per use shower for freedom campers. Parts of the walk are wheelchair accessible.
For more ideas check 10 Whangarei places to go, trip guide, things to see & do: Best Bits
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