Tongariro Waterfall Chase - Emir de Souza

TONGARIRO WATERFALL CHASE

By Emir de Souza | 26th May 2018 | Photography Trip


Mordor

Mount Tongariro (left) and Mount Ngauruhoe (right) from Upper Taranaki Falls Track. Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Tongariro National Park is my favourite place 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.

Mahuia Rapids

Mahuia Rapids, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

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.

  • Tawhai Falls
  • Top view of Tawhai Falls

Tawhai Falls (Gollums Pool), 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!   

Taranaki Falls

Taranaki Falls, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Taranaki Falls instantly became my favourite waterfall after I witnessed it for the first time. The Wairere Stream tumbles off a 20-meter lava cliff face formed 15,000 years ago after some eruptions from Mount Ruapehu. In my opinion, this is the best waterfall in Tongariro National Park. It's worth the easy 2-hour loop to visit this beauty.

  • Little gem on the Wairere Stream
  • The Journey

Shots from the Lower Taranaki Falls Track. Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

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.

Mangawhero Falls

Mangawhero Falls, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

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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