Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt


Top 10 waterfall short walks in the North Island, NZ

  • 2 minutes

New Zealand

Waterfalls, places to go

Waterfalls and thundering sheets of water and spray is nature’s show and tell performance. Waterfalls are 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…


Top 10 North Island waterfalls – easy walks for kids

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.

  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) it 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
Whangarei Falls, New Zealand
Whangarei Falls, New Zealand

What is the best time to photograph waterfalls in New Zealand?

The best time to photograph waterfalls in New Zealand is late winter through to early summer (September to December) when the winter rainfall guarantees plenty of water flow.

  1. Karekare falls Auckland + 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.

Karekare Falls, New Zealand.
Karekare Falls

Winter is also a good time to go waterfall chasing. New Zealand winter is chilly, layer up and enjoy the blasts of cooler air or drizzle. Nature isn’t complaining.

Marokopa Falls on North Island New Zealand
Marokopa Falls
  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. Waitomo Caves is a premier New Zealand travel destination. What to do nearby check out Marokopa: Things To Do and See and find a beach where the only access is a tunnel originally built for cows.


Waitomo caves visit what to do nearby

Combine Marokopa waterfalls with a trip to Waitomo Caves. Half day exploration of the Caves then explore beyond in the Waikato on roads less ordinary.

  1. Owharoa Falls Coromandel

Karangahake Gorge is an Auckland treat. Cascading three tiered drops and glorious scenery make this a highlight on the waterfall circuit.

Karangahake Gorge with its sparkling, tumbling river and regenerating bush tempts you to stop and explore. The rich history and charm of the cycling trails and short walks is stunning. A place where goldminers found the most lucrative strikes in New Zealand’s history is fascinating. Karangahake Gorge, part of the Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park is is beautiful. The Karangahake Gorge is a great day from Auckland.

Owharoa Falls - Waikino - New Zealand
Owharoa Falls
Kerosene creek nature hot water pool with waterfall, New Zealand
Kerosene creek nature hot water pool with waterfall
  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.

And explore attractions between Rotorua to Taupo with more hot pools treats along the way.

  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.

Tarawera Falls with a visible rainbow in New Zealand
Tarawera Falls
Wairaka, daughter of Toroa, The Lady on the Rock, Capt of Mataatua Waka (canoe) sculpture, Whakatane, Bay of Plenty
Wairaka, daughter of Toroa, The Lady on the Rock, Capt of Mataatua Waka (canoe) sculpture, Whakatane, Bay of Plenty, NZ

Whakatane is a great place for a holiday that is budget friendly.

Whakatane’s major visitor attractions are free. Enjoy walks exploring heritage / nature to museums.

  • Marvel at Whakatane Heads where the ocean swells challenge the river … imagine paddling a waka (canoe), hint you would use the outgoing tide to your advantage.
  • Notice the headlands and landmarks for pa (fortified villages) on the walking trails. You need to spot who is coming up behind you and having a great view is definitely an advantage.
  • The visitor site was a traditional area for fishing and net making, it is interesting thinking about changes in land use and how the resources around the visitor centre are being used today (tourist boats, fishing boats and recreational boats)
  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. Chill 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 falls, Coromandel, New Zealand
Waihi falls, Coromandel, New Zealand
Papakorito falls, NZ
Papakorito falls, NZ
  1. Papakorito Falls Te Urewera National Park Hawkes Bay and East Cape

Access is not easy, on the 50 km gravel narrow road. The drive through Te Urewera National Park is New Zealand’s scenery on steroids. The place is magic and is under the careful guardian of the local Maori tribal group. The 20 metre flow is a perfect accompaniment to the regenerating forest. The waterfall is a reward for visiting one of NZ’s remote locations.

  1. Rere Falls Gisborne

Five star rating

The 10 metre sloping rock waterfall, surrounded by farmland is fun. Remember to pack a boogie board to rock slide down the falls. 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.

Rere Falls, Gisborne, New Zealand
Rere Falls, Gisborne, New Zealand

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.


Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.


Our editors independently visit tour operators, purchase tickets, pay for accommodation, and rate products and places. We are not paid to go on a tour or visit a place. We only make money if you decide to purchase a product through our website links. We promise to never accept free products from manufacturers in return for boosting their products. Read more about our affiliate programme in the terms and conditions HERE.

Related articles


If you have a query about content, travel deals or anything else, our team is happy to answer all your questions 🙂

    Your information is secure, no third party involved.
    100% Safe, secure, privacy guaranteed. Privacy Policy.