Totarapapa Falls was a waterfall that Julie and I completely stumbled upon as we were driving from Rotorua to Wairoa through the rugged Te Urewera National Park. Indeed, if it wasn’t for a signpost along the unsealed road pointing it out, we would have passed by it never knowing it was there. In fact, the mostly unsealed route was said to be 222km (of which 120km of it was unsealed) and rumoured to break up marriages as a false “shortcut” so the unanticipated waterfall stop was certainly what we needed at the time. That said, the falls seemed to be mostly hidden amongst the bush, and even though some topographic maps listed this waterfall at 45m tall, it seemed like we were only able to see perhaps only 10m of it as shown in the photo above.
Although this waterfall was a short roadside stop for us, the rain started coming down just as we showed up so we didn’t linger around for too much. It might have been possible to observe and experience a bit more than what we were able to see, but given the circumstances and the long route ahead of us, there’s not much more we can say about this falls.
From the SH5/SH30A junction in the centre of Rotorua, we headed south on the SH5 for about 25km to its junction with SH38. We then kept left to continue on SH38, which ultimately became unsealed after passing through the town of Murupara. After around 77km on SH38, that was when we noticed the sign for the falls.
If you go in the opposite direction from Wairoa, it would be a nearly 3 hour drive (117km) on mostly unsealed roads through Te Urewera National Park to get to the falls. Wairoa was about 90 minutes drive northeast of the Art Deco town of Napier or over 3 hours drive southeast of Taupo. Taupo was a little over an hour drive south of Rotorua.
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