Waihi Falls

near Tararua District / near Dannevirke, Manawatu-Wanganui Region / Hawke's Bay Region (North Island), New Zealand

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 1.5
Waihi Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



[Back to top]

INTRODUCTION

Waihi Falls seemed to be a relatively little known waterfall and perhaps the southernmost of the North Island waterfalls that we had visited. In fact, this waterfall was so obscure that even a DOC employee I was talking to thought I was referring to the town of Waihi near the Coromandel Peninsula instead of this waterfall! That said, a sign said that this waterfall was reserved in 1899 making it the Hawke's Bay Region's first reserve (though I wasn't sure whether it could have belonged to the Manawatu-Wanganui Region or Wellington Region, instead since it seemed to be very close to the borders of all those regions). In any case, on our follow-up visit to New Zealand in January 2010, we ultimately managed to find this reportedly 25m tall falls, which featured a much wider span than its vertical drop. Its flow appeared to be on the low side as it segmented into a handful of strands while leaving behind large spaces of bare underlying cliff. I'd imagine that the falls would need to be in full flood for the water to completely cover its supporting cliff.

Once we finally made it to the car park (see directions below), we saw that there was a nice sheltered picnic area where we see that we were surrounded by pastures leaving behind this pocket of native bush. There were already some views of the falls and the small gorge below, which beckoned us to make our way down to its base. That said, we took a steep, slippery path down to the base of the falls. It was this slippery path that kind of caught us off guard because it didn't seem to have rained for a little while, yet there were plenty of loose pebbles acting sort of as ball bearings undermining our traction as we made the descent. Fortunately for us, going up ended up being much easier despite the unsure footing. But we definitely had to be very careful on the way down.

Once we were at the base of Waihi Falls, we walked all the way to the cliff wall underlying the falls. From here, we could appreciate the length of the falls as well as the rough texture of the cliff itself, but we also made a hasty retreat when we started to notice that parts of the cliff behind us was trickling some pebbles as it was shedding some of its looser layers. So based on that experience, we'd recommend not lingering by the cliffs as they were apparently unstable and prone to landslides. Indeed, I recalled there were certainly signs at the top reinforcing this danger as they warned us to stay away from the edges.

All told, Julie and I spent under 30 minutes away from the car. This included the walk to the base of the falls, enjoying its base, and returning to the car park where we briefly had ourselves a nice little picnic.




[Back to top]

PHOTO JOURNAL

Julie and I were staying at the pretty quiet Palmerston North when we made our visit to Waihi FallsJulie and I were staying at the pretty quiet Palmerston North when we made our visit to Waihi Falls
When we were driving between Dannevirke and Waihi Falls, we were surrounded by idyllic pastures like this that in hindsight could be reminiscent of a Kiwi version of Toscana or even ProvenceWhen we were driving between Dannevirke and Waihi Falls, we were surrounded by idyllic pastures like this that in hindsight could be reminiscent of a Kiwi version of Toscana or even Provence
Even though it was about 3.5-4 hours drive from the NZ capital city of Wellington to Waihi Falls, it was probably the closest waterfall to that city that we visited on the North IslandEven though it was about 3.5-4 hours drive from the NZ capital city of Wellington to Waihi Falls, it was probably the closest waterfall to that city that we visited on the North Island
This was the knocked over sign at Oporae Rd that really threw us off as we didn't notice it initiallyThis was the knocked over sign at Oporae Rd that really threw us off as we didn't notice it initially

The big cul-de-sac car park at Waihi FallsThe big cul-de-sac car park at the falls

The sheltered picnic area at the Waihi Falls car parkThe sheltered picnic area at the car park for the falls

Our first look down at Waihi Falls from the car park areaOur first look down at the falls from the car park area

Julie approaching the base of Waihi Falls as the track was surprisingly slippery towards the endJulie approaching the base of the falls as the track was surprisingly slippery towards the end

Julie before the base of Waihi FallsJulie before the base of the falls

Profile of Waihi Falls seen from near its crumbly cliffProfile of the falls seen from near its crumbly cliff

Looking across Waihi Falls from the corner by its baseLooking across the falls from the corner by its base

On the drive back from Waihi Falls to Dannevirke, we noticed idyllic pastures like this scene that seemed to be quintessential New ZealandOn the drive back from the falls to Dannevirke, we noticed idyllic pastures like this scene that seemed to be quintessential New Zealand


[Back to top]

VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Left to right sweep of the falls from its base


Right to left sweep from downstream to the falls itself as seen from a higher perspective near the start of the walk to its base


[Back to top]

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

For us, it took a little bit of a detour to even drive to this waterfall.

The way we made it to the falls was by first leaving from Palmerston North, where we were spending the night. We headed east from town along Napier Rd (SH3). We followed this road as it eventually became SH2 at Woodville. After driving for about 53km from Palmerston North CBD, we arrived at the town of Dannevirke. Once in town, we turned right onto Miller St, which eventually became Weber Rd, and we followed this road until a turnoff (for Oporae Rd) on our right after about 30km from Dannevirke.

We then followed Oporae Rd, which eventually became Waihi Valley Rd (I think the road became unsealed at this point), towards the Waihi Falls Rd (after about 12km). We then followed this unsealed road flanked by paddocks for the last 2km to the car park at its end.

What was described above was perhaps the most straightforward route, which we found out after the fact when we were returning to Palmerston North! Unfortunately on our visit, we missed that turnoff for Oporae Rd because the sign was knocked down (we suspected the strong winds were to blame), and we ended up doing a long roundabout route continuing on Weber Rd to Route 52 then right on Rte 52 to Horoeka Rd (an additional 18km beyond Oporae Rd turnoff). After leaving Rte 52 for the pretty bumpy unsealed Horoeka Rd, we then turned right onto Waihi Valley Rd after 5km, and we then followed this road for another 3km before reaching the Waihi Falls Rd to our right.

To give you an idea of the geographical context, Palmerston North was 141km (2 hours drive) north of Wellington, or a 520km (6.5 hours drive or over an hour flight) south of Auckland.




[Back to top]

ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




[Back to top]

MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





[Back to top]

TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




[Back to top]

TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




[Back to top]

NEARBY WATERFALLS




[Back to top]

RELATED PAGES



Have You Been To This Waterfall?

Share your experience!

Click here to see visitor comments for this waterfall

Click here to see visitor comments for other waterfalls that we've visited in this region

Click here to go to the Comments Main Page

You can use the form below, but if you find our host's interface too troublesome to use (especially if you're trying to upload photos), then just send a text submission anyways using the form, but also let us know that you'd like to attach photos. If you've provided an email address via the form, then we can reply back acknowledging your request, and you can then reply to that email with your photo attachments. We're very sorry about this, but there's not much we can do about SBI's terrible interface.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Jump from Waihi Falls 
We've been to this place for the lunch during a sunny day. We went to the bottom of this waterfall and I just say I want to jump from it. And I did it, …

Very impressive after a wet winter! (Waihi Falls) 
We visited the falls with friends who live nearby. It was early October, after a very wet winter, so the flow was much higher than in your photographs. …

Waihi Falls: Access Update March 2010 
Joyce and I approached this waterfall from the south via Masterton, where we had camped after a rough crossing from South Island,(other passengers were …

Click here to write your own.



[Back to top]

[Go to the North Island Waterfalls Page]

[Go to the New Zealand Page]


[Return from Waihi Falls to the World of Waterfalls Home Page]