Tangoio Falls and Te Ana Falls comprised a pleasant waterfall tandem that we were able to experience while doing the bush walk to see them both within the Tangoio Falls Scenic Reserve. Each waterfall featured distinctly different characteristics. For starters, Tangoio Falls was the first waterfall we saw, which was said to have a cumulative drop of 25m over three sections where the falls fanned out into three segments at its middle tier before converging for its final drop hidden in the bush below. Te Ana Falls, which was the other waterfall, was shorter at 10m, but it featured a nice plunge in a secluded cove. Of the two waterfalls, Julie and I thought Te Ana Falls was the more attractive one despite its smaller size.
Our walk began at the well signposted tree-shaded car park (see directions below), which promptly descended then crossed a small creek before briefly rising up to a relatively flat track with enough foliage to provide sufficient shade on the relatively sunny day that we did this hike. After about 10-15 minutes of the flat section of track, we then encountered a signposted junction. We opted to turn right first to go uphill, which induced a bit of heavy breathing and sweating as it climbed for the next 20 minutes or so. The track was also narrower and a bit rougher in stretches, which further conspired to slow us down.
The climb ended at another junction with a signpost where we opted to go right to the falls lookout on our right. Had we opted to go left, we would have gone towards the White Pine Bush Track, which the Department of Conservation strongly recommended against shortcutting to that section of the reserve directly from the state highway. In any case, just a few paces to the right of the junction led us right to a wooden lookout platform with a decent top down look at Tangoio Falls. This was the only place we could experience the falls as it didn’t seem like there was reasonable access to get closer to its overgrown base.
When we had our fill of this falls, we then went back down the way we came, and then turned right at the junction at the bottom of the hill to take the path we didn’t take earlier. After another 100m (barely a couple of minutes or so), the track ended right before the attractive Te Ana Falls, which sat right at the head of the small gorge-like cove that we were in. This was the kind of spot where we easily could have just chilled out and bask in the serenity, especially since the plunge pool seemed deep enough for a soak. The total time we took on this bush walk was roughly 90 minutes.
From Napier, we drove north on SH2 for about 23km. The well-signed car park was on our right, just before SH2 would make a very sharp hairpin bend as the road started to ascend. We started looking for the car park shortly after SH2 veered away from the Hawke’s Bay coastline and headed more inland into more forested scenery.
For some added context, Wairoa was over 90 minutes drive along SH2 to the northeast of Napier and less than 30 minutes drive north of Hastings. From a more macro point of view, Napier is about 5 hours drive to the southeast of Auckland and about 4 hours drive north of Wellington.
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