Waipunga Falls

Thermal Explorer Highway, Bay of Plenty Region (North Island), New Zealand

Rating: 3.5     Difficulty: 1
Waipunga Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Waipunga Falls was certainly one of the more dramatic waterfalls that Julie and I came across during our initial tour of New Zealand in November 2004. In fact, we thought high enough of this waterfall that we felt it belonged on our list of Top 10 New Zealand Waterfalls. What really stood out to us about this forceful 40m plunge of the Waipunga River was that it was segmented into three thick columns while almost joined by a barely-visible companion waterfall called Waiarua Falls. Another cool thing about this waterfall scene was that it was practically roadside, which Julie and I came across as we made the 132km drive between Bay View (just north of Napier) and Taupo. Technically speaking, this waterfall belonged to the Bay of Plenty Region though it was quite close to the political boundary of the Hawke's Bay Region.

As we were driving between Napier and Taupo along the Thermal Explorer Highway, we also came across signage for Pungahuru Falls, but the sign crept up on us so fast that we didn't stop for it (given the high speed of traffic). I reckon it could be another option to do a little more waterfalling to help break up the drive (which can be mentally tiring given this two-lane highway tended to be shared by slow drivers, impatient tailgaters, and logging trucks. As for the roadside car park and viewpoint of Waipunga Falls, there always seemed to be a handful of vehicles parked here so I'd imagine it wouldn't be hard to miss given the commotion that it tended to attract.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

A short distance north of the junction between SH5 and SH1 in the town of Taupo was the famous Huka Falls on the Waikato RiverA short distance north of the junction between SH5 and SH1 in the town of Taupo was the famous Huka Falls on the Waikato River
Further to the south of Taupo, we checked out the Desert Road, which afforded us unusual views of the volcanos comprising Tongariro National Park to the westFurther to the south of Taupo, we checked out the Desert Road, which afforded us unusual views of the volcanos comprising Tongariro National Park to the west
On our way up to Taupo from Napier (passing by Waipunga Falls along the way), we also passed by this beach just north of Napier and near Bay ViewOn our way up to Taupo from Napier (passing by Waipunga Falls along the way), we also passed by this beach just north of Napier and near Bay View
Zoomed in on the waterfall tandem of Waipunga Falls and Waiarua FallsZoomed in on the waterfall tandem

Zoomed in just on Waipunga FallsZoomed in just on the falls.

View of Waipunga Falls and Waiarua Falls in contextView of the waterfall tandem in context


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS




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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From the SH1 and SH5 junction in the town of Taupo, Waipunga Falls was about 50km southeast along SH5 past the town of Rangitaiki. Going in the other direction from the SH2 and SH5 junction (just north of Bay View and north of Napier), the falls was about 75km northwest on the SH5.

For some context, Taupo was about 3.5 hours drive southeast of Auckland and over 4.5 hours drive north of Wellington. Similarly, Napier was about 4 hours drive north of Wellington and 5 hours drive from Napier (you'll definitely be passing by the falls while driving along SH5 if you went this route).




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ITINERARIES

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




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MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





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TRIP REPORTS

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




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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RELATED PAGES



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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Aerial Video of Waipunga Falls 
Hi. I found this site by coincidence... I've been to this waterfall March 2015 and I did a short aerial video of it: https://vimeo.com/124137269. …

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