Although the Bay of Plenty may be known for its glorious white sandy beaches, head into the hinterland and you’ll discover freshwater streams cascading through lush native forest. Don’t be put off if the weather is a bit rainy – that's when waterfalls are often their most spectacular. 

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Due to Cyclone Gabrielle track access to these falls is closed until further notice. Check for updates here

Follow the track and a series of stone steps and you’ll discover Kaiate Falls – a cascading tumbl
e of falls that you can admire from different stops along your walk. Just a 30-minute drive from Tauranga city and you’ll be at the car park for your 60-minute return walk. This is a popular tree-lined spot to keep cool on a hot day.

Location: Kaiate Falls Road, Waitao, Tauranga 

Dogs: Yes 

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A local’s favourite spot during the summer months, McLaren Falls are a sight to behold. You can view the falls from the bridge or take a dip in the nearby rock pools. Inside McLaren Falls Park, at the end of a 10-minute walk which is lined with silver ferns and glow worms after dark, is another waterfall waiting to be discovered. There are toilets, pre-booked camping spots, and a café inside the park. 

Location: McLaren Falls Road, Lower Kaimāī, Tauranga 

Dogs: No

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The Ōtanewainuku Forest is one of New Zealand’s best examples of unlogged native forest. The two-hour return Whataroa Waterfall track takes you through towering Rimu trees and finishes at a waterfall perfect for a picnic. You may even run into a Kiwi bird thanks to the work of the Ōtanewainuku Kiwi Trust and the Department of Conservation. The North Island Brown Kiwi population has been protected in Ōtanewainuku since the ‘90s. 

Located: Mountain Road, Ōropi, Tauranga  

Dogs: No  

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Due to Cyclone Gabrielle track access to these falls is closed until further notice. Check for updates here

Raparapahoe Falls is a three-metre high waterfall that plunges into a cool and clear pool. This Te Puke gem is accessible by a steep and rough one-kilometre track – it can get slippery so leave your jandals at home. The view from the bottom is breath-taking. Cliffs and a fringe of native punga trees rise sharply above the blue pool of water.

Location: 282 Number 4 Road, Te Puke  

Dogs: Yes 

Homunga Bay


Take the scenic coastal cliff walk from Waihī Beach to Orokawa Bay and then keep going to Homunga Bay – it’s worth it. It’s not often you find waterfalls on beaches but this one sprinkles down a rockface and lands directly onto the sand. The walk from Waihī Beach over to Orokawa Bay is 45-minutes one way, and then Homunga Bay is an additional 1.5-hours walk one way. 

Located: The Esplanade, Waihī Beach

Dogs: No

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Deep in the central North Island lies an ancient forest with cool mountain air and clear rushing water named Whirinaki Te-Pua-a-Tāne. This ancient podocarp forest is rich in native birdsong and is home to 51 endangered species and native trees towering over 60 metres tall. The Waterfall Loop Track is an easy stroll to the thunderous falls. There is also a picnic table and a toilet at the waterfall.

Located: Whirinaki Forest Car Park, River Road, Whirinaki Te-Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park

Dogs: No

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Te Wairere Falls is a sacred landmark to all who descend from the Mataatua waka. The site was made a scenic reserve in 1971 and remains one of the most beautiful and historically significant places in Whakatāne. The stream supplied fresh water to the town until 1924. Wairere Falls is easily accessible from the Whakatāne town centre.

Located: Toroa Street, Whakatāne

Dogs: Yes

Please make sure you take your rubbish with you.  

Always check whether dogs are permitted before you go. Special places in the Bay of Plenty, like the Ōtanewainuku Forest, are home to vulnerable Kiwi chicks and other native birds.  

The Bay of Plenty is the only place in Aotearoa without kauri dieback disease, so please scrub your shoes, spray them with antiseptic (if provided) and stay on the track.