Fairy Falls

Waitakere Ranges, North Island, New Zealand

About Fairy Falls


Hiking Distance: 3.2km round trip
Suggested Time: 90 minutes

Date first visited: 2010-01-10
Date last visited: 2010-01-10

Waterfall Latitude: -36.91452
Waterfall Longitude: 174.55593

Waterfaller Newsletter

Get over the hump of the mid-week blues! Subscribe and get exclusive curated content delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

Fairy Falls was a waterfall in the Waitakere Ranges that I deferred from our November-December 2004 trip to New Zealand as we had run out of time.

So when we came back to New Zealand in December-January 2010, we made sure that we wouldn’t miss out on it again towards the tail end of that trip, especially since we were spending our last night in the nearby city of Auckland.

Fairy_Falls_041_01092010 - The bottommost tier of Fairy Falls
The bottommost tier of Fairy Falls

After having finally visited the Fairy Falls, we were surprised to see that this was really a series of waterfalls where the photo you see above was the bottommost main drop that was said to be 15m tall.

Another surprise about this excursion was that we passed through a grove of Kauri trees, which were giant white-barked trees that were kind of analogous to Sequoia trees in California.

The Flow of Fairy Falls

We saw the Fairy Falls appearing to have fairly satisfying flow, but I did recall seeing in the literature that it could be trickling or dry.

I’d imagine that the flow of the falls would largely depend on the amount of sustained rainfall as well as how much time had elapsed since the last significant rain storm.

After all, the stream didn’t appear to be on any major drainage or watercourse.

Hiking to Fairy Falls

Fairy_Falls_004_01092010 - Julie trying to do her part to fight off the Kauri Dieback Disease before hiking on the Fairy Falls Track
Julie trying to do her part to fight off the Kauri Dieback Disease before hiking on the Fairy Falls Track

We began our excursion from a busy car park right off Scenic Drive (see directions below).

After crossing the busy highway (we had to be careful given the high rate of speed of cars here), we then sprayed on some chemical on the bottoms of our boots (for Kauri Dieback Disease prevention; provided for at the trailhead).

Next, we proceeded to walk through a forest as the trail began what would turn out to be a pretty lengthy descent.

I knew as we were descending that this would be a pretty taxing return hike on this warm, sunny day.

Indeed, it would turn out to be a very upside-down hike to the Fairy Falls and back.

Fairy_Falls_011_01092010 - Looking in the distance from the Fairy Falls Track towards some suburbs of the outskirts of Auckland
Looking in the distance from the Fairy Falls Track towards some suburbs of the outskirts of Auckland

Already after about 10 minutes on the track, we started to see the giant kauri trees, which was something we weren’t expecting.

So that really added to the appeal of our excursion, and at the very least, it made the moderate hike more interesting.

After reaching a junction, we got some partial glimpses eastwards towards the suburbs of Auckland before the track descended a series of steps.

It was this stair-stepping portion of the track that we were essentially hiking alongside (and crossing) the stream responsible for Fairy Falls.

Fairy_Falls_030_01092010 - Context of a towering Kauri Tree next to some of the upper drops of the Fairy Falls
Context of a towering Kauri Tree next to some of the upper drops of the Fairy Falls

During this descent, we noticed more kauri trees hugging the banks of the stream while towering over us (I recalled one or two of them even leaning over the stream).

This was also the stretch where we started to see Fairy Falls’ upper sections.

While the waterfalls and cascades up there weren’t particularly big, they were still significant enough to attract a few couples looking for a quieter experience around the waterfall.

Eventually after making one more bridged crossing of the stream, we then went down one last flight of steps to the bottom.

Fairy_Falls_067_01092010 - The trail goes alongside the uppermost tier of Fairy Falls after crossing its top
The trail goes alongside the uppermost tier of Fairy Falls after crossing its top

That was where we were then face-to-face with the main drop of Fairy Falls, which we shared with at least two dozen or so people during our visit.

Indeed, this was a pretty popular hike, and it seemed to span a pretty large age group suggesting that it was relatively family friendly excursion.

That said, I could also imagine a couple of sections around the stream perhaps being a bit dicier for elders or for small kids (especially if it was raining or otherwise wet on the trail).

After having our fill of the Fairy Falls, Julie and I then made the anticipated sweaty and long ascent back up to the car park.

Fairy_Falls_036_01092010 - The bottommost tier of Fairy Falls, which was quite busy
The bottommost tier of Fairy Falls, which was quite busy

All in all, we spent about a total of 90 minutes on the trail, but it really seemed like two-thirds of that time was spent on the way back up!

Authorities

Fairy Falls resides in the Waitakere Ranges near the city and region of Auckland in North Island, New Zealand. It is administered under the jurisdiction of the Auckland Regional Council. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Fairy_Falls_003_01092010 - Signs pointing the way to the Fairy Falls near the start of the hike
Fairy_Falls_007_01092010 - Julie dwarfed by one of the kauri trees that we saw along the Fairy Falls Track
Fairy_Falls_009_01092010 - Further along the Fairy Falls Track as Julie was about to walk past another towering tree
Fairy_Falls_013_01092010 - Looking back up at some of the stairs that we had to descend as we were making the long descent from the trailhead towards Fairy Falls
Fairy_Falls_014_01092010 - Julie about to cross the top of the Fairy Falls and its series of waterfalls
Fairy_Falls_017_01092010 - Looking across some of the Fairy Falls cascades towards a kauri tree leaning over the stream
Fairy_Falls_018_01092010 - Julie continuing the descent alongside Fairy Falls, which meant we had to do a lot of climbing on the way back out
Fairy_Falls_019_01092010 - Julie Continuing to descend even more steps as we walked alongside Fairy Falls
Fairy_Falls_020_01092010 - Julie dwarfed by another Kauri tree by Fairy Falls
Fairy_Falls_025_01092010 - A couple enjoying themselves at the middle cascades of Fairy Falls, which was considerably quieter than the bottom of the falls
Fairy_Falls_027_01092010 - Checking out a trio of upper waterfalls belonging to the Fairy Falls ensemble
Fairy_Falls_050_01092010 - Another look at the bottommost tier of Fairy Falls with even more people hanging out here
Fairy_Falls_055_01092010 - On the way back up to the car park, we got this frontal view of the middle cascades of Fairy Falls
Fairy_Falls_066_01092010 - One last look at the uppermost tier of Fairy Falls on the way back to the car park

join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


There are a bunch of ways to get to the Waitakere Ranges (and the Fairy Falls) from Auckland.

The way we did it (out of the Auckland CBD where we were staying) was to find our way west towards the West Coast Rd via New North Rd and Great North Rd.

See the Kitekite Falls page for more specifics on how we got there from the Auckland CBD.

Fairy_Falls_001_01092010 - Context of the Fairy Falls Track car park and the Scenic Drive Road
Context of the Fairy Falls Track car park and the Scenic Drive Road

Allow about an hour for this roughly 30km drive given the traffic and traffic lights.

The West Coast Rd eventually merged with Scenic Dr west of the suburb of Titirangi.

We then followed Scenic Drive for another 5km or so (keeping right at the fork) where the car park for Fairy Falls was on our left as we were heading north.

The trailhead began across the road on the east side (so we had watch out when crossing due to the relatively high speed of cars motoring by on Scenic Drive).

Bottom up sweep of the bottommost falls


Bottom up sweep of the middle cascades


Quick bottom up sweep of the uppermost cascade

Related Top 10 Lists

No Posts Found

Tagged with: waitakere, auckland, north island, new zealand, waterfall, scenic drive, kauri



Visitor Comments:

No users have replied to the content on this page


Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall


Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls

The Waterfaller Newsletter

The Waterfaller Newsletter is where we curate the wealth of information on the World of Waterfalls website and deliver it to you in bite-sized chunks in your email inbox. You'll also get exclusive content like...

  • Waterfall Wednesdays
  • Insider Tips
  • User-submitted Waterfall Write-up of the Month
  • and the latest news and updates both within the website as well as around the wonderful world of waterfalls
Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.