Taranaki Falls Walk

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Kia Ora everyone,

Happy new year! | Nga mihi o te Tau Hou!

This New Years, Jono and I went on a little camping trip to the Taranaki in the West and Tongariro National Park areas in the Center of New Zealand’s North Island.

We were originally intending to go up to Waitomo Caves but turns out it was fully booked and we were also held back for a few days due to a passing storm. Since we missed a few days because of the rain we decided to, instead of going up north, head east for a quick stop to the Tongariro National Park.

beautiful landscape of togariro national park in new zealand
Tongariro National Park. Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

Tongariro National Park is New Zealand’s oldest national park, located in the middle of the North Island. It was recognized by UNESCO as one of the mixed World Heritage Sites as it mixes culture and nature. This status recognizes the park’s important Māori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its outstanding volcanic features.

If you know anything about the New Zealand hiking scene, you’d know Tongariro National Park holds one of the most popular Great Walks of New Zealand – the Tongariro Northern Circuit and part of this great walk includes the very popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing. To be honest, I’ve thought about the possibility of doing a great walk at some point but I’m not really much of a natural walker, hiker, camper in general.

Since meeting my kiwi partner, Jono, and living in New Zealand for 4 years (more like 1.5 years since 2.5 of that was during Covid times, cough, cough) I’ve slowly opened up to this. I’ve really been wanting to do more of it for health and get out of my comfort zone.

Still, this wasn’t the time for me to go the extra mile and do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing out of the blue since these tracks are known to challenge even the experienced hikers. We still wanted to take on one of the tracks of the area and that was the more manageable Taranaki Falls Walk.

Only 2 hours, 6 km loop and giving you a taste of the landscape of the area with excellent mountain views and a range of land forms on a loop track. I can say it’s a good overview of the types of landscapes you’d see in the longer Tongariro tracks.

If you’re walking the lower track first you’ll come into contact with this smaller water fall by the bridge. Some people decide to not finish de loop and go back from where they came from. Be aware that there is this smaller waterfall before Taranaki Falls. It would be a shame turning around here before seeing the bigger waterfall!

Right in the middle of the upper and lower tracks sits this impressive waterfall! Standing at 65 feet high (20 meters), Taranaki Falls towers over you flowing into the small pool below. Falling 20 meters over the edge of a large lava flow, which erupted from Ruapehu 15,000 years ago, Taranaki Falls plunges into a boulder-ringed pool. From below the falls there are spectacular views of the water-worn gorges of Wairere Stream.

Taranaki Falls | Walks in Tongariro National Park | Taupo Official Website
Taranaki Falls

You can actually walk out onto the rocks at the tip of the waterfall to look down as the water splashes over the side. From here you can your first couple of birds eye scenic views over the edge. Of Mt Ngauruhoe (covered by the clouds on the first picture), Mt Ruapehu and the most scenic toilet you’d ever seen and back towards the green forest and the stream from the waterfall you’ve been hiking through.

Good spot for pictures!

The lower track is much different than the upper as it’s almost completely enclosed in forest. Enjoy strolling through nature along the river as you take in the endless species of plants in Tongariro National Park New Zealand. Plus, the upper track has different terrain with parts of the ground and side hills are turned red by the minerals.

Taranaki Falls Track

I’m not the most avid walker and I’m in “ok” shape at the moment but the hike didn’t feel too hard. There was almost no elevation change. The first part of the track I was talking lots of video and pictures so the overall walk took longer than the 2 hrs but that meant I didn’t need to take a longer break later on.

A few minutes after hitting the waterfall, we started picking up speed, my ankles started feeling the weight (of not being used to being on my feet!) and the track started feeling a bit longer than expected but nothing overly tiring or hard. Some spots here and there had some water which meant a bit of mud but nothing you couldn’t walk around or jump over.

Out of other walks with similar length and time frame this is a very picturesque one and with the added bonus of being a “pure loop” which means you’ll end up where you started as opposed to a few km down the road.

Normal tennis shoes were fine! Definitively recommend a hat to protect you from the sun and sunscreen as aside from the bits in the bush, you’ll be walking on open grounds without shelter from the sun. Being near the mountains (and being New Zealand), we had a nice breeze to cool us off (and get us chilly in some areas) but beware of the weather whenever you decide to do this walk! And make sure to have enough water.

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Thanks for reading and see you next time! ♡

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Hello, this blog is written by a young artist and traveler looking to share the world from her perspective. 

“I want to share things that inspire me: Different disciplines I learn along the way and experiences I have. Hoping to inspire whoever’s reading to live a more authentic and fulfilling life.” 

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