After exploring New Zealand for months, I’ve discovered a lot of both hidden and well-known gems. This is the best waterfalls in New Zealand North Island.
Best Waterfalls in New Zealand North Island
Auckland is one of the best places to live in New Zealand – not only is it the biggest city in the country, but it’s super central to the North Island. You can visit most of these waterfalls in a day trip from Auckland.
The most remote (it’s actually not open to the public), Omanawa Falls (pictured above) was by far my favorite of the best waterfalls in New Zealand North Island. I love a little adventure, and that is exactly what you’ll get with a trip to Omanawa Falls. If you can manage to find the exact location where the path starts, you’ll need to hop a fence and climb under another to get to the path.
It doesn’t get easier from there – the 45 minute trek to the falls is complete with rock wall climbing, steep slopes, and incredible views of the waterfall from above. I have an entire post with all of my photos from this amazing day.
Pro tip: Bring a change of clothes! That water is beautiful but ice cold.
KiteKite Falls easily make the list of best waterfalls in New Zealand North Island. These falls can be enjoyed from below or above (take a short hike to swim in the pools at the top), and are a great place to spend a day. Watch out for eels in the water!
Though this triple-tiered fall is stunning, my favorite part about it is it’s proximity to Piha Beach. One perfect way to spend a sunny New Zealand day is to head to KiteKite Falls with a picnic, then take the short drive to Piha Beach for the sunset.
Bridal Veil Falls
Another stunner, Bridal Veil Falls is just outside of the beachy town of Raglan. Though the falls are beautiful, the crown of this beauty is the four viewing locations, spread from the top to the bottom of the falls.
See the falls from the very top, then take a five minute walk to see them from the side just a but further down from the top. Next you can check them out from the halfway point, before making your way down to the bottom.
Take a trip just three hours north of Auckland to Paihia to see the rushing Haruru Falls. Rent a kayak and paddle up to the bottom, or take a short drive out of town to park right by the top. There isn’t much space to hang out, and it gets crowded, but it’s definitely worth stopping by for a few photos.
Though I couldn’t see much of the actual falls, Huka Falls is a turquoise rushing river just outside of Rotorua. Take the very short detour to see these falls if you’re passing through – you won’t regret it. This was the brightest water I’ve ever seen.
After you find parking on the road, a quick 5 minute walk will take you to these falls. A great spot for picnicking or swimming, Owharoa Falls is located in Waikino, just about an hour and a half from Auckland. Make sure to stop off at the Karangahake Gorge if you head out there, and take the windows trek to walk through old railroads and gold mines.
McLaren Falls Park
Filled with waterfalls, McLaren Falls Park is one of my favorite places to spend the day around Auckland. It’s a bit of a drive from the city (about 3 hours), but well worth it. The biggest waterfall is in the actual park. Just take a short 10-minute walking loop from the car park to get to the falls.
Stop off at the bridge as well, where you’ll be able to climb the big boulders, sun bathe like lizards, and watch the sun set through the trees.
Kerosene Creek Waterfall
Take the budget route to the hot springs with one of the few remaining free geothermal pools – Kerosene Creek. Find it just outside of Rotorua using Google maps.
It’s relatively untouched, so bring snacks and water, as you won’t find any here. Just a short walk away from the parking lot will bring you to the river. The small falls smell of kerosene, hence the name. Ease in to the warm water for an afternoon of relaxation.
New Zealand is filled with waterfalls – there are so many I haven’t even seen. Sadly, I found one of the best New Zealand waterfall resources online a bit too late. I’d highly recommend giving that site a go if you are coming to New Zealand & love waterfalls.