Hunua Falls

Hunua Ranges, North Island, New Zealand

About Hunua Falls

Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time: 5-10 minutes

Date first visited: 2004-12-03
Date last visited: 2010-01-10

Waterfall Latitude: -37.06867
Waterfall Longitude: 175.08973

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Hunua Falls was the last waterfall we visited on each of our two trips to New Zealand in November-December 2004 and in December-January 2010.

I don’t know why it has worked out that way, but it always seemed to be a fitting waterfall to visit to cap off our epic trips to the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Hunua_Falls_012_01092010 - Hunua Falls
Hunua Falls

For starters, this was a pleasant 30m plunge waterfall nestled deep in the Hunua Ranges that we found to be very easy to visit.

Apparently, this waterfall was also shown in the old TV series Xena: Warrior Princess so it certainly caught the eye of even filming crews.

That said, it seemed like much had changed around the waterfall since our first trip in early December 2004.

I recalled how much of a quiet experience we enjoyed as it seemed like Julie and I were either the only ones here or amongst a handful of people that were there when we first showed up.

Hunua_Falls_021_12022004 - Looking across the plunge pool and its lily pads towards Hunua Falls during our peaceful visit in early December 2004
Looking across the plunge pool and its lily pads towards Hunua Falls during our peaceful visit in early December 2004

We noticed lily pads, reeds, and daffodils by the plunge pool of Hunua Falls, and it didn’t seem like a likely place to go to swim despite the size of the plunge pool.

But over five years later, we saw a completely different scene with dozens of people around and in the plunge pool while the lily pads and daffodils were gone.

There were even some people who swam right up to the turbulent base of the falls for a bit of the hard shower.

Accessing Hunua Falls

From the large car park (see directions below), we had a choice of which path to take.

Hunua_Falls_003_01092010 - Hunua Falls and reflection as seen from the footbridge over the Hunua Stream
Hunua Falls and reflection as seen from the footbridge over the Hunua Stream

We first crossed the bridge across the Hunua Stream where we got to see the Hunua Falls reflected where the stream was calm.

Once we got to the other side of the bridge, we then turned right and followed the short path to access the plunge pool where we once saw the lilypads and daffodils.

We managed to walk along the plunge pool to get all the way to the cliff where we got interesting profile views of Hunua Falls.

When we returned to the car park, we then noticed another path that took us to the plunge pool on the opposite side of the Hunua Stream.

Hunua_Falls_038_01092010 - Looking through the Masterpiece Theatre frame towards Hunua Falls on the other side of the car park. We only took advantage of this on our second visit to Hunua Falls
Looking through the Masterpiece Theatre frame towards Hunua Falls on the other side of the car park. We only took advantage of this on our second visit to Hunua Falls

While making our way over there, we noticed there was a masterpiece theatre frame with Hunua Falls in the background.

We saw something like this at the Arataki Visitor Centre along Scenic Drive just before it entered the Waitakere Ranges, but I’d argue that the subject of this frame was far more interesting.

Overall, each of our visits to the falls didn’t take long though there were many other trails that went away from the waterfall.

Since we didn’t go on those tracks, can’t comment more on where they would lead to.


Hunua Falls resides in the Hunua 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.

Hunua_Falls_007_01092010 - Julie on the short walking track to get to the plunge pool of Hunua Falls after crossing the bridge during our January 2010 visit
Hunua_Falls_021_01092010 - In January 2010, the plunge pool around Hunua Falls lacked the lily pads and reeds, and we noticed more rocks like this
Hunua_Falls_022_01092010 - Frontal view of Hunua Falls seen in January 2010
Hunua_Falls_029_01092010 - The walking path leading around the plunge pool and closer to the cliff responsible for Hunua Falls in January 2010
Hunua_Falls_037_01092010 - Side profile view of Hunua Falls with some people chilling out close to its plunge
Hunua_Falls_054_01092010 - View of Hunua Falls from the plunge pool after walking a little beyond the Masterpiece Theatre frame
Auckland_029_01092010 - After our last visit to Hunua Falls, we chilled out at the Auckland harbour front to have one last dinner before heading for home
Hunua_Falls_027_12022004 - Looking at the bridge over the Hunua Stream as seen from the big car park
Hunua_Falls_001_12022004 - Hunua Falls reflected in the Hunua Stream as seen in December 2004
Hunua_Falls_004_12022004 - Looking across the plunge pool towards the front of Hunua Falls as seen in early December 2004
Hunua_Falls_013_12022004 - Frontal view of the quiet Hunua Falls seen in early December 2004
Hunua_Falls_016_12022004 - Hunua Falls fronted by lily pads, reeds, and daffodils back in early December 2004
Hunua_Falls_025_12022004 - Looking towards Hunua Falls from the footbridge again after having done the excursion of our early December 2004 visit

From the Auckland CBD, we had to make our way south to the SH1 (we took the on-ramp from Green la E).

We then went south on the Southern Motorway (SH1) for about 24.5km to the Papakura exit (Hingaia Rd exit).

Then, we turned left to go onto Beach Rd, which eventually became Settlement Rd after crossing the Great South Rd.

After 2.6km from the motorway exit, we then turned right onto Hunua Rd (next to the Sir Edmund Hillary School.

After about almost 13km on Hunua Rd, we then turned left onto White Rd (there was a sign at the turnoff indicating Hunua Falls, which also helped).

We then took White Rd for a little over a kilometre before turning right onto Falls Rd, and we followed this road to its end after 2.3km where there was a large car park for Hunua Falls as well as Kokako Lodge.

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L-shaped right to left sweep spanning the plunge pool and ending up at the top of the falls

Bottom up sweep from across the busy plunge pool

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Tagged with: hunua, auckland, north island, new zealand, waterfall, xena, edmund hillary, papakura

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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.
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