Kitekite Falls

Waitakere Ranges / Piha Beach, North Island, New Zealand

About Kitekite Falls


Hiking Distance: 3.6km round trip
Suggested Time: 1 hour

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

Waterfall Latitude: -36.96216
Waterfall Longitude: 174.48761

Kitekite Falls (the original native Maori name was said to be “Ketekete”) was in our minds the most scenic waterfall in the Waitakere Ranges (pronounced “wai-TAH-kur-ay”).

In my first visit to this falls in December 2004, I was blown away by how relatively close it was to the city of Auckland.

Kitekite_Falls_017_01092010 - Kitekite Falls
Kitekite Falls

What was even more amazing was how relatively quiet and peaceful the experience was.

Even the neighbouring picturesque Piha Beach was serene.

It just seemed to be too good to be true that there was this over 40m multi-tiered waterfall in such close proximity to a beach that otherwise would have attracted massive crowds had it been somewhere like Los Angeles.

A little over five years after my initial visit to Kitekite Falls, Julie came along and got to see the falls herself in January 2010, and she too, was impressed by this waterfall.

Piha_Beach_021_12022004 - Piha Beach, which was quiet during my visit in early December 2004
Piha Beach, which was quiet during my visit in early December 2004

It was also reassuring to see that not much about this falls and its track had changed over the years.

In fact, it might have even improved, which I’ll get to shortly below.

On the flip side, it looked like the secret was out about Piha Beach, and it was way busier on our second visit though I wondered if some of that had to do with some kind of public event going on at the time.

The Kitekite Track

The hike began from the well-marked Glenesk car park (see directions below) where we followed a sign said “Kitekite Track” and pointed to our right.

Kitekite_Falls_003_12022004 - The track to Kitekite Falls then followed along the Glenesk Stream
The track to Kitekite Falls then followed along the Glenesk Stream

The sign indicated that the walk was about 30 minutes in each direction (or one hour return).

This track followed along the Glenesk Stream as we walked through a pretty shady canopy of native bush.

There were many paths branching off in different directions and I suspected that they were alternate ways of reaching the falls.

In fact, I wasn’t so sure that the path Julie and I took was the same one that I took back in December 2004.

Kitekite_Falls_003_01092010 - Unlike the first time I did the Kitekite Track, we took a clockwise route which involved this bouldery crossing of the Glenesk Stream
Unlike the first time I did the Kitekite Track, we took a clockwise route which involved this bouldery crossing of the Glenesk Stream

Nonetheless, the path we took criss-crossed the stream a few times before we started climbing up a narrow ledge that eventually reached the front of the base of Kitekite Falls.

The first time I was here, there were a handful of abseilers who were rappelling down the cliff alongside the waterfall.

On our second visit here, the place had a little less commotion, but there were maybe a dozen people or so chilling out here or even having a swim.

Indeed, this place was pretty popular with locals and tourists alike though it still didn’t feel like it was overrun.

Kitekite_Falls_012_12022004 - Abseilers descending alongside Kitekite Falls on my first visit in December 2004
Abseilers descending alongside Kitekite Falls on my first visit in December 2004

Both of our visits happened to be during the mid- to late morning, and from a photography standpoint, we were always looking against the sun.

I’d imagine this would be more of an afternoon waterfall for better lighting conditions.

After having our fill of the base of Kitekite Falls, we then crossed the stream and went up some steps that led up to a ledge track that went back in the downstream direction.

As the track curved, we started to get a very nice look back at the entirety of Kitekite Falls including its upper tiers that weren’t visible from the base.

Kitekite_Falls_006_12022004 - Angled view back at Kitekite Falls as I took a track that climbed from its base onto a ledge track that was opposite the waterfall
Angled view back at Kitekite Falls as I took a track that climbed from its base onto a ledge track that was opposite the waterfall

There was even a picnic table near this viewing area, which I swore wasn’t there in December 2004.

In fact, I often wondered how I missed this spot the first time when I realized that perhaps this view was overgrown back then (and since cleared and built-up a bit).

In any case, that photo you see at the top of this page was from this spot, and I’d argue that my follow-up visit was better than my first visit probably for this reason alone.

The first time I did this track, it only took me about 45 minutes return.

Kitekite_Falls_001_12022004 - Signage at the trailhead suggested that we took longer than the recommended time, but who's counting when you're having a relaxing time here
Signage at the trailhead suggested that we took longer than the recommended time, but who’s counting when you’re having a relaxing time here

However, the second time we did this track, it took us 90 minutes but a large chunk of that time was spent having a friendly chat with a couple of Kiwi parties while enjoying the lookout with the picnic table.

Indeed, the vibe we got on our visits to this waterfall was chill, and I guess that was exactly what we tended to get on most of our waterfalling experiences throughout New Zealand.

Authorities

Kitekite 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.

Kitekite_Falls_001_01092010 - In January 2010, Julie and I re-visited Kitekite Falls together, but this time we had to spray something on our boots to help prevent the spread of Kauri Dieback Disease
Kitekite_Falls_004_01092010 - We then got to a part of the Kitekite Falls hike where it was climbing amongst some overgrowth during our January 2010 visit
Kitekite_Falls_009_01092010 - Making it to the base of Kitekite Falls but looking against the sun during our January 2010 visit
Kitekite_Falls_028_01092010 - The fully contextual view of Kitekite Falls as seen in January 2010. I managed to miss this view the first time around back in early December 2004 because the view was overgrown
Piha_Beach_031_12022004 - Heading down to Piha Beach from Piha Rd as seen back in early December 2004
Kitekite_Falls_002_12022004 - Walking through the bush track on the way to Kitekite Falls during my early December 2004 visit
Kitekite_Falls_005_12022004 - A track junction that led up towards a ledge leading to the base of Kitekite Falls going anticlockwise on my first visit back in early December 2004

join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


There were a lot of ways to get from the Auckland CBD to Kitekite Falls so we’ll just describe the route that we took.

From the Auckland CBD, we went through the maze of city streets until we ultimately found our way onto New North Rd, which was south of SH16 and southwest of SH1.

According to our GPS tracks, the route we took from the CBD was to go south on Hobson St, then going left on Pitt St before turning right onto Karangahape Rd, which then became the Great North Rd.

We’d eventually take this road towards Bond St (about 1.3km west of SH1), then turn left onto Bond St for about 700m before turning right onto New North Rd.

After about 5.7km, New North Rd rejoined the Great North Rd, which we continued on for the next 3.4km.

We then turned left onto West Coast Rd and followed it for about 10km to Scenic Dr.

Turning right onto Scenic Dr, we then turned left onto Piha Rd (about 400m later) and followed it through the winding Waitakere Ranges for about 13.6km as it descended towards Piha Beach and became Seaview Rd.

After another kilometre on Seaview Rd, we then turned right onto Glenesk Rd and took it for another kilometre to the car park near its end.

The car park was busy on our January 2010 visit and we were fortunate to have had a couple of spots still available.

However, there was also spillover parking adjacent to the main car park had the main one been full.

The Arataki Visitor Centre was on Scenic Dr, which somewhat paralleled West Coast Rd further to the south.

It was about 4km southeast of the junction of West Coast Rd and Scenic Dr on Scenic Dr.

Contextual bottom up sweep of the entire falls from a lookout along the trail


Bottom up sweep of the falls from right at the base

Related Top 10 Lists

No Posts Found

Tagged with: piha, waitakere, auckland, north island, new zealand, waterfall, glenesk, kitekite, arataki, lyons rock



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:

(Kitekite Falls) Bigger than most people think…. February 20, 2009 3:05 am by David Phillips - Hi Johnny Your website is great for waterfall addicts like myself. Just wanted to mention that the bottom 3 tiers of Kite Kite Falls are the most viewed but have attached a pic of the whole waterfall. There is another 30 metre drop above the triple section and then a series of shallow falls above… ...Read More

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

Review A Waterfall

Nearest 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.