About Aniwaniwa Falls – Bridal Veil Falls, Momahaki Falls, and Te Tangi-o-Hinerau Falls
The Aniwaniwa Falls (aniwaniwa meaning “rainbow” in Maori) were really a set of three waterfalls along the Aniwaniwa River deep in Te Urewera National Park on the eastern shores of the remote Lake Waikaremoana. Given the brutally long and bumpy road to get this far into the nearly pristine reserve, the loop walk we took to experience all the waterfalls featured were a welcome break as well as a chance for Julie and I to experience more of the native bush scenery from outside of the rental car. The waterfalls comprising Aniwaniwa Falls each had their own names – Bridal Veil Falls and the waterfall pairing (shown above) of Momahaki Falls and Te-Tangi-o-Hinerau.
There were actually two different tracks on opposite sides of the Aniwaniwa River – the Aniwaniwa Falls Track and the Hinerau Track. Julie and I only did enough of the Hinerau Track (which looped from the Aniwaniwa Visitor Centre) to see all of the waterfalls, but in hindsight, we probably should have also done the track on the north side of the river for a different perspective. That said, the Hinerau Track started immediately behind the visitor centre, and barely after a couple of minutes of downhill walking, we found a signed spur trail to our right that veered right to the calm plunge pool opposite the serene 15m Bridal Veil Falls. This waterfall was also called Nga Makawe o Hinewai in the Maori tongue according to the signage here.
As much as we wanted to just chill out and relax at Bridal Veil Falls, we continued further downstream along the Hinerau Track until we reached the next signposted spur. This time, it was for the pair of Momahaki Falls and Te-Tangi-o-Hinerau. According to these signs, Momahaki Falls (the upper one) was said to be 15.2m and Te Tangi-o-Hinerau (the lower one) was said to be 11.2m. The Hinerau Track spur that we took to get a better look at the waterfall pairing was complicated by thick overgrowth which conspired to obstruct the views as shown at the top of this page. The spur track got increasing steep and dangerous the further I went so I had to be content with the suboptimal views as I didn’t feel the risk was worth continuing on.
Julie and I spent a little under an hour doing just this part of the Hinerau Loop Track. However, the DOC literature indicated that it was a 30-minute loop to do the Hinerau Track circuit or 20-minute return for the Aniwaniwa Falls Track.
From the SH5/SH30A junction in the centre of Rotorua, we headed south on the SH5 for about 25km to its junction with SH38. We then kept left to continue on SH38, which ultimately became unsealed after passing through the town of Murupara. After around 133km on SH38 (or 19km past Mokau Falls), that was when we found the car park for the Aniwaniwa Visitor Centre, which was the start of the Hinerau Loop Track.
Going in the other direction, the falls was about 56km northwest of the SH38 junction with Tiniroto Rd just north of Wairoa.
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