Piroa Falls was the first waterfall that Julie and I visited in New Zealand. We made the visit as part of a detour to the Waipu Gorge Scenic Reserve as we were making the drive north from Auckland to Whangarei. The pleasant 20m waterfall was a great introduction to the world of waterfalls in Aotearoa (the Maori word for New Zealand typically translated as the “Land of the Long White Cloud”) as it featured a short bush walk that went through native forest. Julie and I spent about 15-20 minutes round trip for the entire hike.
From the small pullout next to the gravel road (see directions below), we then zig-zagged our way down a well-developed path that descended into the native forest. It didn’t take long before the path flattened out at the bottom of the descent and followed along the river. After crossing the river over a short concrete bridge, we then found ourselves right in front of the attractive waterfall.
Something we had read about later on was that the Ahuroa River happened to feature more swimming holes and pools further downstream of the falls. That was something Julie and I didn’t consider doing (especially since it was mostly overcast and threatening rain during our visit), but it would seem to be something to partake in to cool off on a warm day.
The most straightforward approach would be to take State Highway 1 (SH1) north from the SH1 and SH2 junction at Brynderwyn. The Waipu Gorge Road is roughly 9km north of this junction on the left. Follow the unsealed Waipu Gorge Road for about 6km and the signposted turnoff would be on the right.
The falls was situated about 1.5 hours north of Auckland an about 1 hour south of Whangarei.
Julie and I actually took a different approach (maybe we didn’t know better at the time), which was by taking SH12 west for 7.5km from Brynderwyn to Maungaturoto (“a real New Zealand town”). Then, we turned right onto Gorge Rd and followed it for 8km to the signposted pullout for Piroa Falls on our left. Note that about 5.3km from Maungaturoto along Gorge Rd, Piroa Rd branched off to the right. We learned the hard way that the waterfall was NOT on Piroa Rd.
To give you a little context, Julie and I began our drive from Auckland, which was roughly 90 minutes drive (105km) south of Brynderwyn. We ended our drive at Whangarei, which was roughly 45 minutes drive (54km) north of Brynderwyn.
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