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Whangarei – Otuihau Whangarei Falls Loop Walk

North Island

Whangarei falls have top billing on the list for the best waterfalls in the North Island, New Zealand. Visitors will be spellbound by the very satisfying curtain of water pouring into a beautiful pool surrounded by native bush. And all of this can be viewed from the large car park. A superb Whangarei attraction with free entry and a great walk around the falls reserve to stretch the legs.

Waterfalls in the bush, river and stones, Whangarei waterfalls, New Zealand
Waterfalls in the Bush, River and Stones, Whangarei Waterfalls

Whangarei waterfalls are horseshoe falls with 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 (clockwise direction).


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 steel bridge across the river leads to numerous steps which zig-zags down the hill through mature bush to the bottom pool.


You can return on the same path or continue up the hill via a series of zig-zag loops. There are no stairs on this sector of the walk. 


The car park and facilities are great, there is even a paid per use shower for freedom campers.

Whangarei Falls steep steps, New Zealand
Whangarei Falls Steep Steps

Look for signage for the walks connecting to the Whangarei town basin and Hatea walk. A great day out exploring Whangarei on foot.

Hatea River, Whangarei Falls, New Zealand
Hatea River, Whangarei Falls



For selfie and photo buffs Whangarie falls is very satisfying. The perfect place for a snap. Scroll through Where to take great selfies in Whangarei for more ideas. 


Parts of the walk are wheelchair accessible and wheelchair visitors can even view the falls from a conveniently positioned lookout in the carpark.


Historically important as an traditional eeling location the Whangarei Falls are a major tourist drawcard. The Hatea River is part of a collection of Whangarei city walks.


One of NZ’s top waterfall attractions

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