Raukawa Falls

Wanganui District, Manawatu-Wanganui Region (North Island), New Zealand

Rating: 3     Difficulty: 1
Raukawa Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Raukawa Falls was an attractively wide waterfall that Julie and I saw from afar. As you can see from the photo at the top of this page, we couldn't get a closer look at it, which was a shame because it was the kind of block waterfall that Julie really liked (ala a somewhat smaller version of Cumberland Falls. In fact, if it wasn't for the distant look-but-don't-touch view, we certainly would have bumped up its scenic rating score. In any case, this waterfall was said to be about 15m tall and 50m wide, and its lookout was roadside so it was very easy to couple this with the opportunity to stretch and take photos while driving between the twisty road between Wanganui and Tongariro National Park.

As tempting as it was to think that Raukawa Falls was on the Whanganui River (the longest navigable river in New Zealand, which even had a National Park dedicated to it), the falls actually belonged to the Mangawhero River. Even though the watercourse wasn't as famous, it still flowed year-round so the falls itself would last all year as well. Finally, in terms of the viewing experience, we learned during our January 2010 visit that the waterfall gets the best lighting (if it's sunny) during the morning. In the afternoon, the falls tended to get shadows contrasting with harsh sidelighting, which we learned from our visit in November 2004.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

After our second visit to Raukawa Falls in January 2010, we headed to New Plymouth, where we were fortunate to see the peak of Mt Taranaki shown hereAfter our second visit to Raukawa Falls in January 2010, we headed to New Plymouth, where we were fortunate to see the peak of Mt Taranaki shown here
Back in November 2004, on the way to Raukawa Falls, we made a quick detour to see Waverley Beach and the Waverley Arch. It was very peaceful and calm as Julie and I were the only ones here at the timeBack in November 2004, on the way to Raukawa Falls, we made a quick detour to see Waverley Beach and the Waverley Arch. It was very peaceful and calm as Julie and I were the only ones here at the time
On our second visit to the Taranaki area of New Zealand in January 2010, we checked out the Festival of Lights in New Plymouth, which was a really neat experienceOn our second visit to the Taranaki area of New Zealand in January 2010, we checked out the Festival of Lights in New Plymouth, which was a really neat experience
Our first visit to Raukawa Falls was on a bad weather day when we waited to do the Tongariro Crossing while staying at the Chateau Tongariro. As you can see, the weather improved the following dayOur first visit to Raukawa Falls was on a bad weather day when we waited to do the Tongariro Crossing while staying at the Chateau Tongariro. As you can see, the weather improved the following day
The signposted pullout for Raukawa Falls besides SH4The signposted pullout for the falls besides SH4

View of Raukawa Falls seen in 2004The falls seen in 2004

Closer portrait shot of Raukawa Falls from 2004Closer portrait shot of the falls from 2004

Contextual view of Raukawa Falls from 2004Before: Contextual view of the falls from 2004

Contextual view of Raukawa FallsAfter: Contextual view of the falls in 2010

Shooting the moon and Raukawa FallsShooting the moon and the falls

The waterfall at Puka Park (artificial) seen during the Festival of Lights later that eveningThe waterfall at Puka Park (artificial) seen during the Festival of Lights later that evening


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Diagonal sweep from its base to its top


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From the SH3 and SH4 junction in the city of Wanganui, we drove north on SH4 for about 60km. The well-signed roadside pullout for the viewing deck of the falls was on the left (west) side of the twisty highway about 4km north of the Fields Track turnoff.

Going in the other direction, it was about 37km along SH4 south of the Tohunga Junction at the SH49 and SH4 (9km northwest of Ohakune or 27km south of National Park). The pullout would be on the right side of the road going in this direction.

For further context, Whanganui was about 2.5 hours drive (193km) north of Wellington, and National Park was about 4 hours drive (323km) south of Auckland.




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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



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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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