Auckland Waterfalls to Visit

Auckland Waterfalls to Visit

Take the kids on a day trip to one of Auckland’s hidden waterfalls. Some of our favourites are Kitekite falls in Piha, Wainamu Falls in Bethells Beach, Hunua Falls in the Hunua Ranges, Lucas Creek Waterfall in Albany, Karekare Falls in Karaka, and the urban Oakey Creek Waterfall in Waterview.

Some waterfalls are more difficult to get to than others with younger children, so you are best to do some extra research before you head out on your next waterfall adventure. Also, remember if it has been raining the waterfalls will flow more and be bigger than when it has been dry and there hasn’t been a lot of rain.

Also as some of the waterfalls are located in our native forests, some paths may temporarily be closed to project the kauri trees from kauri dieback disease in the Waitakere Ranges and Hunua Ranges. 

Kitekite Falls

Kitekite waterfalls
Kite Kite Falls

Wainamu Falls

Wainamu Falls is on the Lake Wainamu Track next to Bethells Beach in West Auckland. You can walk over the sand dunes or through the stream and around the lake to reach Wainamu Falls. Kids love sliding down the giant dunes, so remember to bring a body board to slide down the dunes, cardboard doesn’t really work as well.  You can swim in the freshwater Lake Wainamu too, so don’t forget your togs and towels in summer.  The lake gets deep very quickly, just after a few steps, so make sure you aren’t too far away from the kids if they need your help.  Ignoring the swimming and playing on the giant sand dunes, it takes around 1.5 hours to walk around the lake, and it takes about 30 minutes to walk from the carpark to the lake. So definitely plan on a full day out here!

Remember the sand gets hot in summer as it’s black sand so bring appropriate closed in footwear so the kids feet don’t get burned.

If you are visiting in summer and it hasn’t rained the waterfall may have very little water or even no waterfall. So if the only reason for your visit is to see the waterfall you are better to visit over the winter months.

Bethells Beach is close to the carpark and has public toilets and in summer a food truck which sells ice creams, snacks and coffee.

Where: Bethells Road, Bethells Beach | Te Henga, West Auckland Map
Parking: Lake Wainamu Car Park. There is limited parking so this can get full in summer.

Wainamu Waterfall, Bethells Beach, New Zealand

Hunua Falls

An easy walk along the track that follows the stream and brings you to a lookout platform to see the waterfall and takes about 15 mins each way.  You can walk further along the track that goes down through the forest to the bottom of the Hunua Falls. There are plenty of perfect spots for a family picnic either on the walk or by the waterfall. Dogs are not allowed on this walk. 

Remember to make sure the kids stay on the walking tracks and clean your shoes before and after your visit to help prevent the spread of Kauri dieback disease.

Waterfall Height: 30 metres
Where: Huana Falls is located Hunua Falls Reserve on the western side of the Hunua Ranges Regional Park in South East Auckland. Map
Best place to park: Hunua Falls Carpark, 233 Falls Road, Hunua
Other important information: Large sections of the Hunua Ranges Regional Park are temporarily closed to help prevent the spread of  kauri dieback. So please check before you head out if you wish to access these tracks.
Is it safe to swim: Swimming is not recommended.

Hunua Falls

Lucas Creek Waterfall

Easy 10 minute walk following the tidal Lucas creek in Albany brings you to Lucas Creek Waterfall.  There are a few different loop tracks through the reserve, the Waterfall Track and Northwood/Brookfield walks both go past the waterfall. If you have a buggy then you will want to make sure you are on the Waterfall Track as this is buggy friendly. There is a park bench at the waterfall and some picnic tables along the walk to sit at too!

Another longer walk in the reserve goes pass a stunning nikau grove. Plus Hooton Reserve is close by which has a large skate park for the older kids and teens to enjoy!

Where: Within Gills Scenic Reserve off Gills Road in Albany  Map
Best place to park nearby: In the reserve carpark off Gills Road in Albany. Or alternatively you can park at Carol Lee Place or Naples Way which are on other side of the reserve.

Karekare Falls

Karekare Falls are an easy short walk with the kids and takes about 10 to 15 mins for littlies and 5 mins for older kids in West Auckland. You can even see part of the waterfall from the road so the kids can see it’s not a long walk when they start. It’s also a nice spot for a family picnic and you can find a shady spot with all of the trees surrounding the waterfall.

The waterfalls claim to international fame for being one of the filming locations for The Piano movie by Jane Campion.  

Karekare Beach and neighbouring Piha Beach are also worth a visit for a fun family day out at the stunning black sand beaches. Just be warned the black sand gets hot in summer to walk on due to it’s high iron content. Lifeguards patrol the beach over summer at both Karekare and Piha.

Where: Karekare Falls is accessed off Lone Kauri Road, Karekare in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park in West Auckland.  Map
Best place to park nearby: Karekare beach carpark, which has public toilets.  In summer the car park can be especially busy as there is limited parking.

Karekare falls, Auckland, New Zealand

Oakley Creek Waterfall | Te Auaunga Waterfall

Oakley Creek Waterfall is one of Auckland’s hidden gems you can find along the Oakley Creek Te Auaunga Walkway and Bikeway which you can access from Waterview or Pt Chev. The path has some stairs in parts so it’s not all buggy-friendly.

Waterfall height: 6 metres
Where: Pt Chev and Waterview Auckland.  Map
Best place to park: You can park in one of the side streets off Great North Road in Waterview or from the Unitec Campus
Is it safe to swim at Oakley Creek?
There is a permanent public health warning in place at Oakley Creek so don’t plan on swimming here.

Fairy Falls

Fairy Falls is in the northern Waitakere Ranges and is surrounded by giant kauri trees, rimu trees and nikau groves. Large sections of the Waitākere Ranges are temporarily closed to prevent the spread of kauri dieback, so we recommend to check whether it is open before heading out for the day. The walk takes 30mins down, and will vary depending on the age of your children to get down to the first waterfall with a small swimming hole underneath. The walk takes 45mins to walk back and may take the kids longer to walk back up as it’s largely uphill on the return journey. The trail is not buggy friendly as there are lots of stairs and steep drops. 

Where: Henderson Valley, West Auckland.  Map
Best place to park:
Scenic Drive Carpark is on the left of the Scenic Drive (approximately 5km after where the Scenic Drive merges with West Coast Road). Don’t leave any valuables in the car as sometimes they can get broken into.


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