Waiotemarama Waterfall

Waiotemarama Waterfall Loop Walk

Time: 3 hr return

Distance: 2.5 km

Plan and prepare

What to expect on a walking track:

  • Gentle walking from a few minutes to a day
  • Mostly well formed, some sections may be steep, rough or muddy
  • Suitable for people with low to moderate fitness and abilities
  • Some tracks suitable for mountain biking
  • Clearly sign posted. Water crossings bridged
  • Walking shoes or light tramping/hiking boots required

Getting there

North – SH 12 towards Opononi. 4 km before Opononi turn left (sign posted) onto Waiotemarama Gorge Road. Follow it for 6 km to reach the start of the Waiotemarama Bush Walk (sign posted).

South – SH 12 towards Opononi. Pass the town Waimamaku, 6 km before Opononi, turn right (sign posted) onto Waiotemarama Gorge Road. Follow for another 4 km to reach the start of the Waiotemarama Bush Walk (sign posted).

About the area

The Waipoua / Waima / Matarau forest is the largest intact area of high altitude, kauri, and coastal forest associations in Northland. It spans a full altitudinal sequence from the coast to the highest points in Northland (Te Raupua 781 metres, Ngapukehau 762 metres and Mt Misery 728 metres).

The cold, high bluffs of Waima Forest are home to rare woody plants found nowhere else, including karamu (Coprosma waima), a tree daisy (Olearia crebra) and a very recently discovered tree – Turoa onamata (Ackama nubicola). These plants, thought to be relics of a past ice age, are eaten by possums (and other browsers), though they have benefited from sustained ground-based possum control since 1995.


The track follows the gorge on the true right hand side of the stream for 20 minutes. From a bridge you get good views of a beautiful, 20-metre waterfall and surrounding bush.

The vegetation here is mainly Tawa and Taraire, and other assorted hardwoods. From the bridge, the track ascends in a zigzag past the top of the waterfall up to the ridge to a viewing platform overlooking the gorge. You then sidle around hardwood forest to a saddle and up a face to enter the kauri stand.

Once in the kauri stand the track climbs to the main ridge to the Hauturu Highpoint Track junction then back down in a loop to rejoin the track back out to the road end. You can get nice views of kauris from the loop. For details refer to Itinerary S12

A short walk from the Waiotemarama carpark you find a delightful craft shop named the Labyrinth Woodworks. You have the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely complimentary tea or coffee and view the affordable arts and crafts. Watch Louis make his kauri bowls, wooden puzzles or polish pieces of gum and enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the area. To contact them phone (09) 405 4581.


Bird watching
Flora and fauna