Bells Falls

 

Bells Falls

Probably the best waterfall at Mt Egmont National Park, Bells Falls is a powerful waterfall, which is found along the Around the Mountain Circuit. Reached by a tramping 8-hours return track, but it really worth it!

Driving and walking conditions

GPS of the view point: S 39° 15.632' E 174° 02.250'
Parking: Puniho Rd, Newall, Mt Egmont National Park
Vehicle type: All vehicle types Track type: Tramping track
Road type:1km Gravel Road Return track duration: 8hrs 

Waterfall parameters

Waterfall height: 30m Type of the waterfall: Horsetail

 

 


Walking and driving instructions

 

Bells Falls is roughly a 45 minutes’ drive away from New Plymouth or 50 minutes’ from Stratford. The road surface is sealed, except for the last one km which is a gravel road.

From New Plymouth travel south-west on the SH-45 for 32 km, then turn left into Puniho Rd and stay on it for the next 13.7km until you reach a car park at the end of the road. There are no facilities here (no toilets).

From the parking follow a tramping Puniho Track for 1.5-2 hrs. This part of the track is a gentle uphill walk, which is relatively easy but has lots of tree roots on it, hence be very careful after rain. In 2 hours, you reach a track’s junction. Here, turn left into Around the Mountain Circuit (Stony River Track) which is the most challenging part of the journey. The track descends to the Maero Stream, then ascends; then descends to the Turehu Stream and climbs again. Two stream crossings are required which could be difficult/impossible after a heavy rain. Many thanks to DOC who maintain this track and provide lots of stairs, at least one rung-type ladder and a chain to help with descending to the Maero Stream.

Then the track reaches the Stony River and follows it for some time. This part of the track provides a beautiful view of Mt Taranaki and has a few stream/river crossings. Again could be difficult/impossible after a heavy rain. Finally, you reach a track’s junction - Holly Hut (40min) and Bells Falls (10min). From here, follow an easy 10-minutes one-way Bells Falls track which brings you to the waterfall’s base. It’s a nice spot to stretch your legs and have lunch. A closer approach is possible, with care, just follow an un-official track, and you’ll reach a better view of the waterfall. Return via the same track.

The option above is recommended for experienced hikers only. The total walking time is 8-9 hours. If you are not sure about weather condition, or whether you can reach the falls and return within a day – turn back and come back next time when the weather is better!

Bells Falls track is part of the Around the Mountain Circuit and (usually) the falls are reached on a second day, hence if you are an experienced tramper, you might be interested to do this challenging 5-days’ track which gives you an opportunity to visit lots of waterfalls along the way (refer to the Waterfalls Nearby section below and to the TOPO maps).

 


Waterfalls nearby (driving)

 

Attractions nearby

 

Even a week spent at Mt Egmont National Park would not be enough to see all the attractive places around. During the winter season it's a Ski Resort, while during the summer season it's a hiking paradise.

 


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