Okere Falls - Rotorua
From the viewing platform at Hinemoa's Steps, visitors can observe rafters and kayakers surge over the highest commercially rafted waterfalls in the world.
Okere Falls is Best For
Directions to Okere Falls
Okere Falls Scenic Reserve is an 11 kilometre stretch of the Kaituna River that features a series of four stunning waterfalls before opening out to the Okere Trout Pools. The Trout Pools provide a spectacular and popular fishing spot. Below the Trout Pools, the river flows into the sea at Maketu.
Okere Falls Scenic Reserve features a scenic walk through the bush that includes a number of viewing platforms overlooking the emerald coloured river. One of the platforms offers the opportunity to see the remains of New Zealand's fourth ever built hydroelectric power station.
A number of commercial rafting companies operate on the river, with the seven metre Tutea Falls being the highlight. It's the highest commercially rafted waterfalls in the world and from the viewing platform at Hinemoa's Steps you can view the kayakers and rafters surge over the falls edge. From this platform you can take the steps down to Tutea Caves. Carved in 1907 by the engineer of the power station, the two large caves overlook the Okere River.
The Okere River is a site of significant Māori cultural and spiritual values. It is the traditional river of the Ngati Pikiao, who made their home her for many years. Many wars were fought on the banks of the river with the waterfalls providing caves where women and children were hidden from invading tribes. In 1984, the Waitangi Tribunal confirmed the Ngati Pikiao as the traditional owners of the river.
Below many of the waterfalls are deep eel holes and the river is a significant part of local Maori history as a plentiful provider of food and as a sanctuary for the women and children.
The Okere Falls Track is a well maintained track with information panels explaining the natural and human footprint of the Okere falls and Kaituna River.