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Aqua Symphony: The Best Waterfalls in Auckland

Aqua Symphony The Best Waterfalls in Auckland

Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, is known for its amazing people and vibrant city life. However, beyond the bustling streets, you’ll find a beautiful collection of waterfalls nestled within the city’s verdant forests and rugged terrain.

These amazing natural wonders offer us a serene escape from the daily hustle. If you’re looking for a place to unwind and relax, check out these picturesque waterfalls around Auckland!

Oakley Creek Waterfall

– Photo credit: thelife_of_maxfamily


Address: 1520 Great North Road, Waterview, Auckland 1026, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 9 301 0101

Oakley Creek Falls, also known as Te Auaunga, is the only waterfall you’ll find that’s within central Auckland. Nestled within the Oakley Creek Reserve, it offers an urban oasis that serves as a tranquil escape from the noise of the city. 

With a height of 6 metres, it holds the title of New Zealand’s highest urban waterfall. However, what really makes it worth visiting this place are the waterfall’s lush greenery and the native bird population of kingfishers and rosellas. 

To reach the falls, you can follow the easily navigable Oakley Creek Walkway from Great North Road. It will probably take you about 5 minutes to reach the waterfall’s base from the reserve entrance. 

After your visit to Oakley Creek Falls, I strongly suggest you continue walking the whole Oakley Creek Walkway loop to see the reserve’s flora and fauna. There are plenty of drinking fountains and restrooms along the path if you want to take a break.

Pro tip: The best time to visit is after rain when the waterfall is more impressive. However, make sure to check first with Safeswim if the water current is safe enough for you to get closer!

Lucas Creek Waterfall

Photo credit: grace_felton


Address: Albany Heights, Auckland 0632, New Zealand

Distance from AKL CBD: 57 minutes

Lucas Creek Waterfall is a serene retreat surrounded by lush greenery. Before the arrival of European settlers, the original Maori settlement near the area referred to it either as Ōkahukura (Of Kahukura), or Kaipātiki (Stream for Eating Flounder).

The waterfall is easily accessible, and you can explore it via an upstream walkway or a short path from the bridge. Going through the upstream walkway takes about 5 to 10 minutes and is the better option if you want to fully explore the area.

An awesome fact about Lucas Creek is that it once served as an important transportation node. Thus, you’ll find plenty of archaeological sites along the banks during your visit here.

To get to Lucas Creek Waterfall by car, follow SH-1 north to the Albany exit. Turn left, continue, and just before the bridge over Lucas Creek, turn right onto Gills Road and park near the park’s entrance.

Pro tip: To enjoy the best view of the waterfall, there’s a nearby lookout bench located at the footpath west of the bridge over Lucas Creek. It’s a concrete path, so wheelchairs and strollers can easily access it.

Karekare Falls

Photo credit: chelsea_minnie_


Address: Huia, Karekare 0772, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 22 175 8614

Distance from AKL CBD: 1 hour and 9 minutes

Karekare Falls is a captivating natural wonder tucked away in the Waitakere Ranges. Its area has a rich history, as the valley was once home to the Ngaoho people during the 13th century.

It has a height of 25 metres and spills into a serene plunge pool surrounded by lush greenery all around. Due to its location, it gives off a secluded vibe where you can enjoy some peace away from the noisy streets of Auckland.

Another thing I love about Karekare Falls is its close proximity to Karekare Beach. Both locations have their own rich biodiversity of flora and fauna, so you better make sure to visit them both!

To reach Karekare Falls from Auckland, drive approximately an hour along the road leading to Piha. Just before arriving in Piha Village, look for the sign indicating “Karekare” and turn left onto the main road to reach the falls.

Pro tip: Before visiting Karekare Falls, make sure to wear comfortable footwear like rubber shoes or sandals. While the trek to the waterfalls is short, most of the track is uneven terrain.

Kitekite Falls

Photo credit: omgsamantha


Address: Piha 0772, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 9 301 0101

Distance from AKL CBD: 1 hour and 3 minutes

Our adventure will take us next to Kitekite Falls, located in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park. It has a total height of 40 metres with its water tumbling down a three-tiered cascade that gives the waterfall an unnatural beauty.

Interestingly, the name Kitekite is believed to be a misspelling. According to Rewi Spraggon, a Maori kaumātua (tribal elder), the traditional name was instead Ketekete, which refers to the clicking sound made before an ambush.

So why visit Kitekite Falls? Firstly, this majestic waterfall is surrounded by lush native bush and towering trees, giving it a picturesque setting. Secondly, the base of the falls features a natural pool, the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing swim. 

For the best experience, I recommend you explore the Kitekite Track first so you can reach the waterfall’s base. From there, make your way towards the tracks that will lead you straight to the lookout point at the top of the waterfall.

Pro tip: Are you feeling a bit adventurous? If you have a canyoning permit, you can abseil the canyoning bolts near the waterfall to reach the pool located at its second cascade.

Wainamu Falls 

Photo credit: simonoconnormp


Address: Waitākere, Auckland 0781, New Zealand

Distance from AKL CBD: 50 minutes

Wainamu Falls, also known as Waitohi Falls, is a beautiful natural attraction located near Bethells Beach. While not as tall as the other waterfalls mentioned here, it offers a serene setting.

What makes Wainamu Falls so special is the rich diversity of scenery you’ll find during your visit here. Aside from the lush greenery near the falls, you’ll find majestic sand dunes just a few hundred metres away.

Also, if you follow the water flowing through here, you’ll end up in Lake Wainamu. This amazing lake was once known as Roto Wainamu by the Te Kawerau ā Maki, and it features a rich and diverse population of native fish, like banded kokopu.

Lake Wainamu’s natural beauty makes it a great picnic and swimming spot. I recommend you pack lunch and some towels so you can fully enjoy everything Wainamu Falls and Lake Wainamu have to offer!

Pro tip: Wainamu Falls tends to dry up or receive very little water during the summer season. Make sure to visit this place instead during or after the rainy season for the best experience.

Karamatura Falls

Photo credit: peterandyen


Address: Huia, Auckland 0604, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 9 301 0101

Distance from AKL CBD: 56 minutes

Karamatura Falls has an amazing history. Nestled in Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, it has a height of 15 metres and is surrounded by lush scenery and vibrant wildlife.

This waterfall was once referred to by the Māori legends as a place of forbidden love. It is said that this is where two lovers from opposing tribes hid once their illicit love affair was found out.

Thankfully, their story had a happy ending, and a pou was erected near Karamatura Falls to celebrate their love for one another. You can find it at the beginning of the Karamatura Loop Walk.

To reach Karamatura Falls, you need to start your trek on Huia Road. From there, follow the Karamatura Loop Walk, then switch to the tramping Karamatura Track which leads to the falls’ base.

Pro tip: The best time to visit Karamatura Falls is between the months of May and June. That’s because that’s the time when native fungi along the Karamatura Loop Walk, like the blue werewere-kōkako mushroom, are in full bloom.

Hunua Falls

Photo credit: themartyns


Address: Hunua Ranges Regional Park Falls Road, Hunua 2583, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 9 301 0101

Distance from AKL CBD: 1 hour and 27 minutes

My favourite, Hunua Falls, is a natural wonder that captivates its visitors with amazing scenery and rare geological features. The falls, which originate from the Wairoa River, cascade over a basalt lava plug that creates a one-of-a-kind spectacle. 

Interestingly, the area around it was once a part of an ancient volcano. Standing at approximately 30 metres tall, it proves to be a picturesque spot that exudes a rare kind of beauty after a heavy rain. 

The lookout platform at the top of Hunua Falls is the best spot to take in the breathtaking views of the greenery surrounding it as well as the nearby town of Hunua. Make sure to bring a camera with you to capture this special moment!

You can either drive to or ride the bus to Papakura to reach this place. Once you reach the Hunua Falls car park, you only need to take a 15-minute walk through a short, well-marked trail to reach the waterfall’s base.

Pro tip: Please don’t swim here, especially if you’re a beginner. According to Newshub, Safeswim marked Hunua Falls as unsafe for swimming due to its strong currents and extremely cold water.

Nihotupu Falls

Photo credit: ireneb_789


Address: Piha Road, Waiatarua, Auckland 0612, New Zealand

Distance from AKL CBD: 48 minutes

Nihotupu Falls is a hidden gem you shouldn’t miss. Located in Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, these falls consist of three cascades, each with its own charm.

The first waterfall is filled with amazing swimming spots, while the second, though harder to reach, is the most beautiful. As for the third, it’s the most accessible because it has an easy track that will lead you to its base.

You can actually see the Nihotupu Falls in their entirety from the track leading to the Upper Nihotupu Reservoir. If you continue walking past the waterfalls, you’ll reach the reservoir, where there’s a vantage point overlooking the nearby dam.

Aside from swimming and admiring the scenery, this place also serves as an excellent spot to do some birdwatching. That’s because there are plenty of bird species living in this area, like kererus and rurus.

Pro tip: It will take you at least two hours to fully explore the trail that covers both the dam and Nihotupu Falls. Make sure to bring a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated throughout your visit!