Waitawheta Waterfall

 

Waitawheta Waterfall

Unofficially named, charming Waitawheta Waterfall is found in the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest. Usually reached on the second day of tramping. Off the beaten track adventure!

Driving and walking conditions

GPS of the view point: S 37° 32.262' E 175° 48.883'
Parking: Franklin Road, Waihi, Waikato
Vehicle type: All vehicle types Track type: Multi-days track
Road type: Sealed Return track duration: 2days

Waterfall parameters

Waterfall height: 10m Type of the waterfall: Cascade

 

 


Walking and driving instructions

 

Waitawheta Waterfall is roughly a 2 hours’ drive away from Auckland or 1 hour 15 minutes’ from Tauranga. The road surface is always sealed.

If you drive from Karangahake Gorge, take SH2 eastbound and follow it for the next 5km. When you see a sign ‘Owharoa Falls’ turn right into Waitawheta Rd, cross the river via a one-lane bridge and follow the road for the next 4.2km. Turn right into Franklin Rd and follow it for the next 2.2 km. There is a small car park (with DOC signs) almost at the end of Franklin Rd. There are no facilities there (no toilets).

From the parking follow Waitawheta Tramway for 3-4 hours (depend on of the level of fitness). In an hour and a half, the track crosses a large suspension bridge. Continue south along the tramline through the Waitawheta Gorge. Here, you need to cross a river 3 times, so be prepared and have appropriate boots. If the water level is low - it will be very easy to cross the river, but after rain it could be almost impossible to ford the river. This part of the track doesn’t have any significant uphill/downhill sections.

Almost at the end of the Tramway, you'll see a sign 'Waitawheta Hut'. Don't turn right to the hut, just continue the track along the river. Roughly, in an hour you'll approach a sign 'Kauri Dam'. If you follow the main track for 3-5 minutes, you will see a stream which you'll need to cross. The waterfall is seen when you cross the stream. Return via the same track.

It's a quite difficult to make it in 1 day (roughly, 5 hours one-way), so we highly recommend to stay overnight at the Waitawheta Hut. The hut is quite a popular one and needs to be booked in advance. One more attractive waterfall is found next to the hut, hence if you’re doing this track and not staying in the hut, we would recommend doing a 5-minutes side track (from the main track to Waitawheta Hut) to visit Toilet Bowl Waterfall and really understand why it has got its name =)

Personally, we have used a different approach to see this waterfall. If you’re looking for a more challenging adventure, you might choose the same option as we did: a two-days’ loop track from Woodland Rd (refer to Ananui Falls article for the driving instructions): from the parking follow the Wairoa Stream (tramping Wairoa Track) for 4 hrs, until it meets Waitawheta Tramway; then follow Waitawheta Tramway for the next 2 hrs (see the waterfall in the middle of this track); and stay a night at the Waitawheta Hut. Next day follow Ananui Track and return to the parking at the end of Woodland Rd. As an outcome, you'll see 3 waterfalls: Ananui Falls, Toilet Bowl Waterfall, and Waitawheta Waterfall. The track requires a few river crossings and have lots of uphill/downhill sections. The most difficult downhill section is reached on the first day – it can be slippery and has lots of fallen trees on it, hence be extremely careful!

 


Waterfalls nearby (driving)

 

Attractions nearby

 

Karangahake Gorge is a place with multiple attractions, including Goldfields Railway and Museum, and Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway.

Apart from the tracks described above, you might be interested in the following track as well:

 


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