Wairere Falls

The Wairere Falls, located in the Kaimai Range, is the biggest waterfall in the North Island. At 153m the falls are so tall they can be seen from State Highway 27, and being only a 15 kilometre drive from Matamata or 60 kilometres from Hamilton, they are a popular spot to visit.

Legend has it that Ngahue came to New Zealand from Rarotonga on the back of a fish and walked over the Wairere track from Tauranga. After travelling overland he brought back some greenstone and killed a moa at the bottom of the falls before returning to his homeland. The Wairere Track for ever after was to provide a link between Matamata and the Bay of Plenty. It was a traditional route for Māori and was later also used by missionaries, explorers and scientists.
Sadly the Wairere track was also the scene for the murder of a young Māori girl, Tarore, in 1836.
Today the old ‘Māori’ track as it is known, is rarely used however a new track has been built which contains 121 steep stairs. This walking track, which leads to the top of the falls, can be accessed via the carpark on Goodwin Road. There is one lookout halfway up the Wairere Falls track and it is a medium walk to this point, however it gets a little harder going to the top of the waterfall. It is approximately an hour and a half walk to the top of the falls where breathtaking views can been seen. It takes approximately the same amount of time to make the return journey down.
When walking up Wairere Falls there can be some very slippery steps and there is a hazardous 90 metre drop off to the side of these steps so it is not recommended that hikers take this track on a wet day.

Photo credit: www.waterfalls.co.nz