Mokau Falls

Te Urewera National Park / Lake Waikaremoana, North Island, New Zealand

About Mokau Falls

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2004-11-15
Date last visited: 2004-11-15

Waterfall Latitude: -38.7301
Waterfall Longitude: 177.09823

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Mokau Falls was probably the most impressive waterfall of the ones that Julie and I encountered during our drive through Te Urewera National Park between Rotorua and Wairoa.

This waterfall was said to be 37m tall, but it featured an attractive trapezoidal shape dwarfing the road bridge that ran across the Mokau Stream above it (giving us a sense of scale of the size of this falls).

Te_Urewera_013_11142004 - Mokau Falls
Mokau Falls

Our pre-trip research had us on the lookout for this waterfall so we made it a point to look for pullouts while being cautious not to zoom by and miss it.

That said, zooming past the falls might be difficult to do since the road through Te Urewera National Park was pretty slow going considering it was almost entirely unsealed.

Indeed, this waterfall had a fairly obvious lookout, which produced the view you see at the top of this page.

However, I didn’t recall that it was signed during our visit in November 2004.

Te_Urewera_040_11142004 - Tauwhare Falls
Tauwhare Falls

After having our fill of this top down vantage point, we then continued driving towards the bridge above the falls.

From there, we then looked back across the gorge to see the more obscure Tauwhare Falls (pronounced “TAU-far-eh”).

We weren’t sure if this other 41m waterfall would have much longevity given how thin and hidden it was amongst the bush despite the aid of rains just prior to our visit.


Mokau Falls and Tauwhare Falls reside in Te Urewera National Park between Rotorua and Wairoa in the East Coast region of North Island, New Zealand. They are administered under the jurisdiction of the Department of Conservation. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Te_Urewera_005_11142004 - Along the way to Mokau Falls, we also ran across this signpost tipping us off to Totarapapa Falls
Te_Urewera_007_11142004 - This was the unsealed road we had driven on for a few hours just to even get close to Mokau Falls
Te_Urewera_024_11142004 - Broad look at Mokau Falls with road bridge going across its stream upstream from its brink
Te_Urewera_017_11142004 - More focused look at the impressive Mokau Falls
Te_Urewera_037_11142004 - Looking back across the gorge towards Tauwhare Falls from the top of Mokau Falls
Te_Urewera_090_11142004 - Continuing on the unsealed road through Te Urewera National Park and along the eastern shore of Lake Waikaremoana as we slowly made our way towards Wairoa

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 114km on SH38 (or 37km past Totarapapa Falls), that was when we found the pullout for the best view of Mokau Falls.

Going in the other direction, the falls was about 75km northwest of the SH38 junction with Tiniroto Rd just north of Wairoa.

Wairoa was about 90 minutes drive northeast of the Art Deco town of Napier or over 3 hours drive southeast of Taupo. Taupo was a little over an hour drive south of Rotorua.

For some additional context, Rotorua was about 3 hours drive southeast of Auckland or just about 90 minutes drive east of Hamilton.

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Tagged with: urewera, bay of plenty, hawkes bay, north island, new zealand, waterfall, waikaremoana, wairoa, rotorua, tauwhare falls, tuai

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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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