Kia Ora! Welcome to Tawhai Falls – most known by Lord of the Rings fans as Gollum’s Pool. This is a super easy 15 minute walk that could be done in flip flops (or jandals as kiwis say). We stopped by on our way to Taranaki Falls Walk so if you’re chilling around the area or doing another short walk (Taranaki Falls is a 2 hour, 6 km loop) and have some time to spare before or after it, this is a good walk to fill in the day and hit this iconic LOTR spot.
Gollum’s Pool is a waterfall in Tongariro National Park. It is a part of the set in Lord of the Rings as the forbidden pool in which Frodo and Faramir capture Gollum. The walk to the waterfall is very short and is an ideal way to stretch your legs and get some fresh air if you’ve spent the day travelling to reach National Park. The walk is pretty well-formed, you should only need a pair of sneakers or slides to reach the waterfall.
Although I’m a fairy elf at heart, my pointy ears were really appropriate for the occasion. I only wished I’d thought about fully dressed up as a hobbit or Gollum, why not?
There is a higher view point and a lower area to access the pools. Although the higher view point is tiny and you can only fit one party at a time. The lower area is also short in space but if you’re adventurous like the people in the picture, you can walk around through the rocks at the side of the stream.
Although in the LOTR world “To enter the Forbidden Pool bears the penalty of death” other bloggers had said it is safe to swim in here but be warned the water is very cold. Is is because all the water in the river leading up the the falls comes directly from the snow melt off Mount Ruapehu. I wouldn’t know because as a person originally from the warmer lands of Mexico, all water in New Zealand is cold for me and I wouldn’t dare put a foot in!
Even if I were keen on cold waters, I’d still be weary and stay out as the iwi (Māori for ‘people’ or ‘nation’, and is often translated as “tribe”, or “a confederation of tribes”) did explicitly asked people to keep off the water at Taranaki Falls Walk. I haven’t found any information saying you aren’t allowed to swim in here and there wouldn’t be people policing it but it is an act of respect towards the taonga (in Māori culture, an object or natural resource which is highly prized) of the iwi in the area, Ngāti Tūwharetoa.
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