Wairere Falls is the highest waterfall you can find on New Zealand’s North Island, and the vista from the top is totally worth the steep hike up.

Quick Overview

The Wairere Falls Track is a walking trail in the Waikato Region, of New Zealand’s North Island. The trail is located 15 minutes from the rural town of Matamata and takes 3-4 hours to complete. 

About Wairere Falls

The Wairere Falls Track is a well-known must-visit trail located in the beautiful Kaimai Ranges of New Zealand that takes you to the highest waterfall on the North Island. This track is the perfect day walk for anyone in search of ancient nature, a spectacular waterfall, flowing rivers, and wild views.


Wairere Falls History

Wairere Falls calls people far and wide to enter a track filled with ancient rocks and trees. It holds the title of the highest waterfall on the North Island of New Zealand, scaling 153 metres in height.

Located 15 minutes from Matamata, to some better known as the home of Hobbiton, the track is popular with locals and tourists alike. 

How to Get to Wairere Falls

The easiest way to get to Wairere Falls is by car. There are no public transport services to this destination, although group tours may be organised through companies such as Riverside Adventures

The track is located at 87 Goodwin Road, Gordon 3471 (set your Google maps before you leave). 

Skill Level


A moderate level of fitness is needed for this walking track. The track is steep in parts and includes stairs. Be careful on the way down, the track can be slippery! 

Distance / Duration / Elevation

5km / 3-4 hours / 153m (height of the falls)

Essential Gear for Wairere Falls

Be sure to pack the following for this day walk:

  • Food and water or a picnic lunch
  • Warm clothes, even if it’s a hot day, it can get chilly up the top of the track
  • Hiking shoes, or sturdy sneakers
  • Sunscreen
  • Swimmers for the post-walk swim 
  • Dry bag if you intend to swim

What It’s Like to Walk the Wairere Falls Track

The beginning of the track is obviously marked to the left as you enter the car park. 

The track begins by guiding you through an old forest. As you walk you’ll meet a river, and upon crossing the river bridge, you’ll begin to wind your way up the river. 

The track begins gently and climbs steadily. If you’re pacing it, you’ll be puffing by the time you get to the lookout which is located around an hour and a half into the walk. This is a perfect space to stop as it holds beautiful views of the waterfall. 



From there, the track takes you to the very top of the 153m high Wairere Falls. You can expect this to take another 45 minutes of walking time. At the top, on a clear day, you’ll be greeted with views over the entire Waikato region. Looking as far west as Mount Karioi in Raglan, as well as to Mount Pirongia and Mount Maungatautari, all of which offer walking and hiking trails. To the south, you can even glimpse the Tongariro Region



Once you’ve had your fill of this sprawling vista, simply turn around and head back the way you came. Just be wary, the steep track can be quite slippery on the way down.

This track holds beautiful energy and is a space to reconnect with nature. The rocks and trees on the track are filled with wisdom and light. Listen closely and this track will leave you feeling connected, grounded, and anchored into the heart of the Earth. 


Tips for Hiking the Wairere Falls Track

This track is open all year round. Avoid this track during severe weather for personal safety (check the Department of Conservation updates). The track is free and open to the public. 

Don’t forget your swimmers and a towel; there are enough still spaces in the river to jump in for a dip on a hot day. 

Sometimes, especially in summer, there’ll be local vendors selling drinks, doughnuts, and ice creams in the car park. This can be sporadic, so perhaps don’t count on it, but bring some cash in case! If not, it’s only a short drive back to Matamata for post-walk drinks and ice creams.

FAQs Wairere Falls Track

Where is Wairere Falls Track located?

Wairere Falls is located 15 minutes from Matamata, in the Kaimai Mamaku Ranges.

When is Wairere Falls Track open?

The track is open all year round. However, it’s best to avoid this track during severe weather or heavy rain for personal safety. There may be an increased risk of flooding and slips in severe weather. Check the Department of Conservation for updates.

Is Wairere Falls Track good for beginners?

This track is possible for beginners but gets very steep in parts and requires a reasonable level of fitness. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to tackle this hike with someone who’s done it before.

How long is Wairere Falls Track?

The out-and-back track is 5km in total.

Can you swim at Wairere Falls?

Yes, but swim with care as the river can be quickly moving in places. There are no designated swim spots, but there are many rock pools throughout.

How high is Wairere Falls?

Wairere Falls is 153 metres high. 


Photos thanks to Joel Bradford on flickr