Wairere Falls outside of Matamata

I didn’t know what to expect for the Wairere Falls hike. It was described on the DoC website as the highest waterfall in New Zealand’s North Island and was a half day walk near where I was staying, just outside of Matamata.

The start of the track is at the end of a narrow country road. You could see the waterfall in the distance and it seriously looked an impressive size.

Two parts to the trail

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lower Falls Lookout

The first part takes 45min to a viewing platform of the complete waterfall. The path was really enjoyable with moss covered boulders and it kept crossing over the river with bridges. It does become very steep with never ending stairs and eventually reaches a seating area to view the Wairere Falls. I highly recommend a zoom lens to get a better photo of the waterfall, as it’s a bit further away than I expected.

Top of Falls Lookout

The next stage took another 45min with more stairs. In winter, the path is muddy and I found it was a great conversation starter with the people I passed. I also noticed that plenty of people use to have beautiful red or pink shoes, now coated with a layer of brown mud.

It’s worth going to the top. The power of the Wairere Falls is spectacular and there is a great platform right on the edge to get the full impact. On a clear day, you can see all across the Matamata area with its pretty farms.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tips for walk

  • If it’s been wet, wear shoes that can handle mud
  • Parts of it are straight up steep steps
  • There is a toilet at the start
  • Take a camera with a good zoom for the first stop at the lower falls lookout

Directions for walk

On Goodwin Road off Te Aroha-Okauia road, south of Te Aroha.


I was seriously impressed by this fall and think it’s now one of my favourite North Island walks.

If you are in the area, consider the Blue Springs walk too.

Do you have a favourite walk you’d recommend? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Share This

Leave a Comment