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Top 10 waterfall short walks North Island

  • 2 minutes

Waterfalls, places to go

Waterfalls and dazzling displays of light filled spray. Nature’s show and tell performance is never boring for kids and adults alike. While Aotearoa New Zealand has plenty of waterfalls;  for kids, ease of access is an issue. Here are ten walks that are less than 20 minutes one way.

These walks are part of a series of Short Walks in New Zealand. Unmissable, unforgettable walks and that’s just the start…


Winter, lots of rainfall through to early summer. Chilly, layer up and enjoy the blasts of cooler air or drizzle. Nature isn’t complaining.



The scenic 'Rainbow Falls' at the beautiful Kerikeri is a must to visit spot of Northland New Zealand
Rainbow Falls at Kerikeri
  1. Rainbow falls – Northland

Visiting Kerikeri, chilling out in the KORORIPO HERITAGE PARK nearby is a stunning 27 metre waterfall. The short 10 minute walk gets the energy bunny something to do. Late summer the water flows aren’t that great, perfect early spring waterfall.

What to do nearby check Kerikeri Things To Do and See – Kerikeri Travel Guide on Pacific Jane.

  1. Whangarei falls (wheelchair accessible)

Whangarei Falls is located in Whangarei Scenic Reserve.

The classic curtain waterfall is part of the Hatea River and can be viewed from the car park. Honestly there is no walking involved. Although the Hatea River circuit around the waterfall is a mere 20 minutes (steps involved) is worth the effort.

What to do nearby check Whangarei nearby walks and 10 Whangarei places to go, trip guide, things to see & do: NZ.

Panoramic View of Whangarei Falls, Whangarei North Island New Zealand
Whangarei Falls
Karekare Falls, New Zealand.
Karekare Falls
  1. Karekare falls Auckland + and wicked beach

Iron sands, a wild untamed ocean, pounding surf and a hidden waterfall.

Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, the filming location for “The Piano” , has a picturesque waterfall at the end of a short bush walk. The waterfall is a 30 metre plunge off a cliff edge.

For inspiration what to do nearby check out Auckland’s West Coast Beaches travel guide, things to do: NZ Jane.

  1. Marokopa Falls Waikato

Five star rating

Tawarau Forest is not well known. The short boardwalk guides visitors to one of New Zealand’s impressive waterfalls. The 30 metre cascading waterfall is a short drive from the popular Waitomo Caves. The perfect Waikato destination. What to do nearby check out Marokopa: Things To Do and See in a Travel Guide – Pacific Jane and find a beach where the only access is a tunnel originally built for cows.

Marokopa Falls on North Island New Zealand
Marokopa Falls
Owharoa Falls - Waikino - New Zealand
Owharoa Falls
  1. Owharoa Falls Coromandel

Karangahake Gorge is an Auckland treat. And don’t miss Owharoa Falls. Cascading three tiered drops and glorious scenery make this a highlight on the waterfall circuit. And there are another nine reasons there is plenty to do and see in the region, check out Visit Karanganhake Gorge & Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park: NZ Jane.

  1. Kerosene Falls Taupo Rotorua

A mere 2 metre waterfall is on the list. The waterfall is not very dramatic at all. The secret ingredient is the natural hot water springs flowing through Kerosene Creek.

The waterfalls are reasonably well known, expect it to be popular in the busy summer months.

Rotorua is a visitor hotspot with plenty of things to do with the kids, for inspiration check Rotorua travel guide, best activities, things to do & see: NZ Jane.

Kerosene Creek in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand @Destination Rotorua
Kerosene Creek in the Bay of Plenty @Destination Rotorua
Tarawera Falls, New Zealand @Rankers
Tarawera Falls @Rankers
  1. Tarawera Falls between Rotorua and Whakatane

Five star rating

Impressive. The water surges from fissures in the cliffs creating a mini waterfall display along the drop of over 65 metres. The crystal clear water flows over boulders and rocks creating an otherworldly effect.

Check access as the gravel road is a private forestry road sometimes closed during high fire risk season.

For DOC details check Tarawera Falls Track: Lake Tarawera Scenic Reserve, Bay of Plenty region.

  1. Papakorito Falls Te Urewera National Park Hawkes Bay and East Cape

Access is not easy, there is a 50 km gravel drive. The drive through Te Urewera National Park is New Zealand on scenery steroids.

The place is magic which is under the careful guardian of. The 20 metre flow is a perfect accompaniment to the regenerating forest.

The waterfall is a reward for visiting one of NZ’s remoter locations, Lake Waikaremoana area short walks: Lake Waikaremoana area, Te Urewera, East Coast region.

Papakorito Falls, New Zealand @Mapio
Papakorito Falls @Mapio
Rere Falls Gisborne, New Zealand @stuff
Rere Falls Gisborne @stuff
  1. Rere Falls Gisborne

Five star rating

The 10 metre sloping rock waterfall is nestled in farmland and near the Wharekopae River is fun. Remember to pack a boogie board to rock slide down. Take a break from Gisborne, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the swimming holes near the waterfall. For inspiration check Top-10 things to do in Gisborne, activities & attractions: NZ Jane.


You pass Eastwood Arboretum with its outstanding children’s playground, over 130 native and exotic trees for garden enthusiasts to linger among, trails, walking tracks from easy flat walks to a vigorous climb to Mount Arataitai for panoramic views of the Arboretum and beyond.

  1. Waihi Waterfall Thames Coromandel

A magnificent 25 metre display is situated in the Waihi Falls 22 hectares scenic reserve.

It is a beautiful quiet spot that is not on the visitor circuit. Another excellent choice for a picnic and a day waterfall watching and chilling outdoors, outside and in a natural setting. Access to the waterfall is short but steep in parts.

Check Waihi Falls… – Tararua i-SITE Visitor Information Centre for details.

Waihi Waterfall Thames Coromandel, New Zealand @cruze
Waihi Waterfall Thames Coromandel @cruze


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