If, on a trip to New Zealand, you wish to see waterfalls, fret not. New Zealand is full of waterfalls. Brimming with them. Our first on this roadtrip was just outside of Whangarei, literally on the edge of town. The falls there are a nice horseshoe shape, though when we visited in February it felt like the water was a bit low. The lip of the falls seems to hint at a much broader curtain of water when a heavy or prolonged rain hits.
The area is well built up, and though you wouldn’t know it from the falls, the surrounding area is suburban and even has a tiny visitor’s center and a bathroom. Construction on residential housing was in full swing while we were there, and plenty of locals were enjoying the falls and the surrounding greenery. A bridge lets you see the falls from pretty much top down.
Then, following a very short hike down, you see the falls in all their beauty. Down at the bottom a small island with picnic areas, small streams, and plenty of trees provide a quick distraction and shade.
If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you can scramble all the way to the edge of the island to get an up close view. The adventure here is limited but fun as a break on the long drive north.
On our way out we saw some kids jumping from a rather tall tree into a pool at the top of the falls.A nearby sign forbade swimming, but we figured the local kids were exempt. They yelled for us to come join them, and while it was tempting, the thought of soaking our clothes just before continuing the drive was not pleasant. We declined, but vowed to wear swimsuits in the future if we knew there might be a swimming hole on our path.