The Tarawera awa disappears underground then reemerges gushing from the cliff face as the spectacular Tarawera Falls.
Tarawera Falls is 35 minutes drive from Kawerau, and around 1.5 hours drive away from Rotorua and Tauranga and 1 hours drive from Whakatāne. First drive into Kawerau where you must obtain a permit (address is below). From Kawerau take Fenton Mill Road and follow the signs ‘waterfall’. As soon as you’re in the forest follow Waterfall Rd. The road is a private one and requires a permit.
There is a car park at the end of Waterfall Rd with toilets.
A walking 40 minutes return Tarawera Falls track leads to the waterfalls base lookout. A viewing platform is kindly provided by DOC as well as some stands with pictures and stories. The track itself isn't very difficult and doesn't require any river crossings.
If you have a reasonable level of fitness, it’s possible to continue along the tramping track Tarawera Outlet (approximately another 2 hours one way). This track climbs from Tarawera Falls lookout and follows the river. There are beautiful cascades on the river and a popular swimming spot. The track goes up to Tarawera Lake where you have options to return via the same track or continue along Tarawera Lake tramping track.
Permits to the Tarawera Falls and Tarawera Outlet will be issued from the Kawerau iSite Visitor Information Centre:
The Bus Terminal, Plunket Street, Kawerau, Tel: 07 323 6300
Weekend Operating Hours 9.00am – 4.00pm
Permits cost $10.00 per vehicle (not per person).