Piroa Falls

Waipu Gorge Scenic Reserve, North Island, New Zealand

About Piroa Falls

Hiking Distance: 400m round trip
Suggested Time: 20 minutes

Date first visited: 2004-11-07
Date last visited: 2004-11-07

Waterfall Latitude: -36.06514
Waterfall Longitude: 174.38964

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

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.

Piroa_Falls_008_11062004 - Piroa Falls
Piroa Falls

The pleasant 20m waterfall was a great introduction to the waterfalls in Aotearoa, which was the Maori word for New Zealand typically translated as the “Land of the Long White Cloud”.

Accessing Piroa Falls

To reach the waterfall, we went on a short bush walk that passed 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 Ahuroa River.

Piroa_Falls_006_11062004 - Julie crossing over a short concrete bridge traversing the Ahuroa River
Julie crossing over a short concrete bridge traversing the Ahuroa 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).

However, it would seem to be something to partake in to cool off on a warm day.


Piroa Falls resides in the Waipu area in the Northland region of North Island, New Zealand. It is administered under the jurisdiction of the Department of Conservation (DOC). For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Piroa_Falls_001_11062004 - Julie making her way down from the road into the native forest
Piroa_Falls_020_11062004 - The track descending from the Gorge Road to the Ahuroa River
Piroa_Falls_010_11062004 - Our first look at Piroa Falls
Piroa_Falls_014_11062004 - Another look at Piroa Falls

The most straightforward approach to reach Piroa Falls 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.

Piroa_Falls_005_11062004 - At the trailhead for Piroa Falls, which was this pullout next to the unsealed Waipu Gorge Road
At the trailhead for Piroa Falls, which was this pullout next to the unsealed Waipu Gorge Road

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.

Piroa_Falls_004_11062004 - Looking in the other direction from the signed car park for Piroa Falls
Looking in the other direction from the signed car park for Piroa Falls

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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Tagged with: waipu gorge, maungaturoto, brynderwyn, northland, north island, new zealand, waterfall, whangarei, ahuroa river

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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.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.