This section of the Kaituna River is extremely popular with rafters and kayakers due to its frequency of rapids and waterfalls, and also lays claim to having the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world, at 7 metres. The first 11km of this section of the Kaituna River is often called “The Okere River” which fittingly means "the place of drifting" and is a site of significant Maori history. Kaituna referring to its importance as a source of food the river holds, namely eels.
Besides the rafting, one thing that makes Okere Falls so popular is the accessibility to view the river through various points accessible on Okere Falls Track - a well-formed DOC bushwalk, which gives walkers excellent viewpoints to watch from elevated positions, as people take on the falls. There are also sections of impressive cave formed in the rock faces that you can walk through, as well as a grassy area at the start of the track with picnic tables and toilets. Trout Pool at the end of this track is a popular fishing spot, with many fish often visible in the tail of the pool.
Because of its location, on the main highway between Rotorua and Tauranga, it's a popular spot for people to stop and take a break. Okere Falls Store has a reputation for serving great coffee, has an excellent beer garden and hosts events such as the popular annual October Beer Fest.