Owharoa Falls was an attractive waterfall that had quite a bit of what Julie likes to say “character” to it. Not only did this waterfall possess a fair-sized drop at around 10-15m or so, but it was also wide and had a trapezoidal shape to complement the underlying ripplying texture that yielded this character. Julie and I witnessed some Maori locals who managed to climb up to the middle of the falls before doing a daring plunge into the large plunge pool below. Their acrobatics even managed to draw some applause from other visitors who just happened to be there. I guess based on this observation, in addition to its attractiveness, the falls would also make a nice swimming hole to cool off if it would get hot here.
The falls was nestled within the Karangahake Gorge, which was known for old gold mining sites as well as the nature of the gorge itself. We didn’t visit those historical mines as we were only content to spend time at just the falls. That said, we did make the very short walk from the roadside pullouts (see directions below) to the plunge pool, where we also noticed another upper tier further upstream that was mostly hidden. I guess it kind of teased us into imagining that there could be much more to this waterfall than what meets the eye.
After visiting Owharoa Falls, we then continued our drive to the surf town of Whangamata. Just 15 minutes prior to visiting the falls, we actually made the kitchy stop to the big L&P (that’s Lemon & Paeroa) bottle in the town of Paeroa, knowing that this was known to be quite the soft drink that Kiwis (i.e. New Zealanders) like to consume.
Owharoa Falls was right off the Waitawheta Rd a little over 12km east of Paeroa (yes, that’s the town where the famous L&P (Lemon and Paeroa) soft drink was created) or 9km west of Waihi along SH2. Given the high rate of speed of SH2, this turnoff was somewhat easy to blow past so we really had to be careful of oncoming traffic as well as slowing down to ensure we wouldn’t miss the turnoff.
Once we made the turn south onto Waitawheta Rd, we crossed the bridge over the Ohinemuri River and then continued barely 0.2km looking for a place to park on the right side. We could tell we were in the right place because we noticed the falls off to the right prior to stopping the car.
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