Raukawa Falls

Wanganui / Hawera, North Island, New Zealand

About Raukawa Falls

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2004-11-18
Date last visited: 2010-01-06

Waterfall Latitude: -39.62641
Waterfall Longitude: 175.3139

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Raukawa Falls was an attractively wide waterfall that Julie and I saw from afar.

It was said to be about 15m tall and 50m wide, which made this block-type waterfall stand out to us.

Raukawa_Falls_008_01052010 - Raukawa Falls
Raukawa Falls

As you can see from the photo above, we couldn’t get a closer look at it, which was a shame because the distant views kind of made the falls feel smaller than it really was.

In fact, if it wasn’t for the distant look-but-don’t-touch view, we certainly would have bumped up its scenic rating score.

Nevertheless, its lookout was roadside so we easily coupled this experience with the opportunity to stretch and take photos while driving the twisty road between Wanganui and Tongariro National Park.

As tempting as it was to think that Raukawa Falls was on the Whanganui River (the longest navigable river in New Zealand, which even had a National Park dedicated to it), the falls actually belonged to the Mangawhero River.

Raukawa_Falls_009_11172004 - Raukawa Falls as seen somewhat against the afternoon sun back in November 2004
Raukawa Falls as seen somewhat against the afternoon sun back in November 2004

Even though the watercourse wasn’t as famous, it still flowed year-round so the falls itself would last all year as well.

Finally, in terms of the viewing experience, we learned during our January 2010 visit that the waterfall gets the best lighting (if it’s sunny) during the morning.

In the afternoon, the falls tended to get shadows contrasting with harsh sidelighting, which we learned the hard way from our visit in November 2004.


Raukawa Falls resides around Kakatahi near Ohakune in the Manawatu-Wanganui region of North Island, New Zealand. It did not seem to have an authority overlooking them. Nonetheless, you can still seek out information or inquire about the area as well as current conditions by visiting the Department of Conservation website.

Raukawa_Falls_006_01052010 - Contextual view of Raukawa Falls as seen in morning light during our January 2010 visit
Raukawa_Falls_010_01052010 - Focused look at Raukawa Falls during our visit in January 2010
Raukawa_Falls_026_01052010 - Shooting the moon and Raukawa Falls on our January 2010 visit
New_Plymouth_035_01062010 - The waterfall at Puka Park (artificial) seen during the Festival of Lights later that evening
Raukawa_Falls_007_11172004 - My attempt at a long-exposure shot of Raukawa Falls during our late afternoon visit in November 2004
Raukawa_Falls_011_11172004 - Contextual view of Raukawa Falls from November 2004

From the SH3 and SH4 junction in the city of Wanganui, we drove north on SH4 for about 60km.

The well-signed roadside pullout for the viewing deck of the falls was on the left (west) side of the twisty highway about 4km north of the Fields Track turnoff.

Raukawa_Falls_001_11172004 - The signposted pullout for Raukawa Falls besides SH4
The signposted pullout for Raukawa Falls besides SH4

Going in the other direction, it was about 37km along SH4 south of the Tohunga Junction at the SH49 and SH4 (9km northwest of Ohakune or 27km south of National Park).

The pullout would be on the right side of the road going in this direction.

For further context, Whanganui was about 2.5 hours drive (193km) north of Wellington, and National Park was about 4 hours drive (323km) south of Auckland.

Find A Place To Stay

Diagonal sweep from its base to its top

Related Top 10 Lists

No Posts Found

Tagged with: kakatahi, hawera, whanganui, wanganui, manawatu, north island, ohakune, national park, new zealand, waterfall

Visitor Comments:

Got something you'd like to share or say to keep the conversation going? Feel free to leave a comment below...

No users have replied to the content on this page

Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

If you have a waterfall story or write-up that you'd like to share, feel free to click the button below and fill out the form...

Raukawa Falls Oct 2018 December 28, 2018 2:06 am by Ian Cooper - I might be the first to bring you some sad news by the look of it. Raukawa Falls has undergone a dramatic change sometime between your visit in 2010 and my last visit in October 2018. It looks like a big chunk of the front wall, which is made of a hard sedimentary grey clay… ...Read More

Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls

The Waterfaller Newsletter

The Waterfaller Newsletter is where we curate the wealth of information on the World of Waterfalls website and deliver it to you in bite-sized chunks in your email inbox. You'll also get exclusive content like...

  • Waterfall Wednesdays
  • Insider Tips
  • User-submitted Waterfall Write-up of the Month
  • and the latest news and updates both within the website as well as around the wonderful world of waterfalls

How To Build A Profitable Travel Blog In 4 Steps

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.