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 drawfing the road bridge that ran across the Mokau Stream above it (giving us a sense of scale of the size of this 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 (though that was probably hard to do since the road through Te Urewera National Park was pretty slow going as it was almost entirely unsealed).
Indeed, this waterfall had a fairly obvious lookout (though I didn’t recall that it was signed during our visit in November 2004), which produced the view you see at the top of this page. After having our fill of this top down vantage point, we then continued driving towards the bridge above the falls, where 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.
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.
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