Rotorua is well-known for its lakes, but the water flowing in and out of these bodies of water create beautiful cascades that are a sight to behold.
Best accessed via the township of Kawerau, Tarawera Falls is a true spectacle, with water surging from a tall cliff face. A permit is required the access the forestry roads leading to the falls; these can be purchased for $5 at the Kawerau i-site. Following a 30-minute drive along gravel roads, Tarawera Falls is accessible following an easy walk through native bush. More ambitious trampers can continue along the trail to the Tarawera Outlet (roughly 2 hours each way).
Located just beyond the intersection of Lakes Rotorua and Rotoiti, Okere Falls runs along the Kaituna River, which flows out of Lake Rotoiti. Rafting is popular along this section of the river, which includes the Tutea Falls; this 7 metre drop is the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall. In addition to rafting, kayaking and sledging along the river, there is also a series of scenic walks which explore along well-formed trails, viewing platforms, the old Okere Falls Power Station and manuka scrub.
A magnificent waterfall located at the historic Buried Village, Wairere Falls is just one of several falls that run through this archaeological reserve and museum. The water falls trails are accessible with entry to the Buried Village, which also includes a museum, archaeological site, gift shop and cafe. The pristine waters cascade over the Waitoharuru cliffs and are home to large Rainbow Trout, which can be viewed relaxing in the streams. Soft spray from the waters crashing at the base of the falls provides exceptional refreshment on a hot day.
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