TONGARIRO WATERFALL CHASE
By Emir de Souza | 26th May 2018 | Travel
Tongariro National Park is one of my favourite places in New Zealand. It's situated on a large volcanic plateau in New Zealand's Central North Island. The national park has diverse scenery and is home to three active volcanoes; Mount Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu, and a few extinct volcanoes. Not only is it New Zealand's oldest national park but it is also one of the oldest national parks in the world. This region is also known for its Lord of The Rings scenes, like Mount Doom and Gollum's Pool.
My stay at Tongariro National Park was two days and one night. Unfortunately, it was cut shorter on the second day since I couldn't hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, due to poor conditions on Mount Tongariro. My backup plan was to chase down some waterfalls because of the overcast conditions the region was having.
The first waterfall I chased down in the Tongariro National Park region was at Mahuia Rapids. It was a bit tricky trying to find a little waterfall at one part of the rapids. But a few friendly locals showed me a small path just next to State Highway 47 that takes you to the waterfall.
Mahuia Rapids, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
If you have watched Lord of The Rings, do you remember a scene when Gollum's fishing in a pool? It was filmed here at Tawhai Falls (Gollum’s Pool). The walk to Tawhai Falls is an easy 10-minute return walk which starts at a gravel parking area just off Bruce Road.
After Tawhai Falls I went further up the road to the start of the Taranaki Falls Loop Walk. I decided to start on the Upper Taranaki Falls Track and then follow the Lower Taranaki Falls Track after passing the waterfall. The Upper Track takes you through a beech forest and alpine grasslands on the flanks of Mount Ruapehu. If you go on a clear day you might be treated with epic views of the three volcanoes!
After 1 hour of walking I arrived at the beautiful Taranaki Falls. This 20 meter tall waterfall and cliff was formed thousands of years ago after Mount Ruapehu erupted, sending lava down a valley.
The Lower Taranaki Falls Track follows the winding Wairere Stream, and takes you through a beech forest. There are some stunning views into the water-worn gorges of the Wairere Stream along the track.
On the way back to Wellington, I decided to make a quick stop at Mangawhero Falls. This stunning 28-meter waterfall can be easily accessed from the Ohakune Mountain Road. There is no official way to access the base of the waterfall, so you must enjoy the waterfall from the lookout points.
Thanks for checking out my blog! I am excited to explore more in Tongariro National Park in the near future.
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