Although other parts of New Zealand boast taller or faster-flowing waterfalls, none is as conveniently located—and few are as photogenic—as spectacular Otuihau Whangarei Falls. This 85-foot (26-meter) cascade surrounded by birdsong and native bush is just minutes from Whangarei’s city center, making for a perfect pit stop or half-day hike. The Basics
You can view Otuihau Whangarei Falls from three different platforms, looking out from above the falls or by heading down a gravel loop track through the bush to the falls-fed river at the bottom. The upper lookout is an easy 5-minute round-trip walk and is suitable for wheelchairs and strollers, while the loop track via the bottom of the falls typically takes about 30 minutes and includes stairs. Things to Know Before You Go
- Otuihau Whangarei Falls is ideal for nature lovers and those looking for a taste of the outdoors close to Whangarei.
- Overnight camping is allowed if your vehicle is certified as self-contained.
- The parking lot is an ideal target for thieves. Leave valuables in the hotel or take them with you on your falls walk.
- Wheelchair-accessible public toilets and a picnic site are available near the paved parking lot.
How to Get There
Otuihau Whangarei Falls is about a 10-minute drive from the Whangarei city center. There is no scheduled public transport, although local shuttle operators offer transfers on request. If you’d prefer to explore the countryside at a slower pace, the falls are a 30-minute bike ride from most of Whangarei’s bike rental shops. When to Get There
You can comfortably visit Otuihau Whangarei Falls anytime thanks to Northland’s temperate year-round climate. From January to March, when it can get quite warm, an early-morning or late-evening visit may be best for hiking the loop track. During particularly dry summers less water flows over the falls, although they rarely dry up entirely.
Walks Beyond Otuihau Whangarei Falls
From Otuihau Whangarei Falls, you can stretch their legs with longer hikes through kauri forest along the AH Reed Memorial Kauri Walkway (one hour round-trip) or to historical Mt. Parihaka (two hours round-trip), a former pā (defensive settlement) site that is estimated to have been home to more than 2,000 people.