Wainui Falls

A short distance before Takaka is an easy short walk through lush native bush to Wainui Falls, one of the largest, most accessible and undoubtedly most beautiful waterfalls in Golden Bay.

Shaded by overhanging nikau palms, a short one-hour return walk along the banks of the Wainui River is a mesmerising nature experience. You’ll get to enjoy the beauty of the lush native surrounds whilst birds flutter between the treetops and cicadas hum along in the distance. Shortly after crossing the swing bridge, your senses will be awakened by the thundering sound of the falls as they cascade 20 metres down granite bedrock into the deep blue pools below, curtained in a halo of spray. A rocky ledge that encircles the falls serves as a spectacular viewing platform and photography spot.

The journey to Wainui Falls is an experience in itself, as visitors trek through dense native bush, following well-maintained trails that wind through the verdant forest. Along the way, the air is filled with the soothing sounds of birdcalls and the rustle of leaves, creating a serene atmosphere that heightens the anticipation of reaching the falls.

As one approaches the falls, the sound of rushing water grows louder, building excitement for the breathtaking spectacle ahead. Emerging from the forest, visitors are greeted by the sight of Wainui Falls plunging gracefully into a crystal-clear pool below. The sheer power and beauty of the cascading water create a mesmerizing display that leaves a lasting impression on all who witness it.

The viewing platform near the base of the falls offers the perfect vantage point to admire this natural marvel up close. Visitors can feel the cool mist on their skin as they gaze in awe at the majestic cascade and listen to the rhythmic symphony of water meeting rock.

Beyond its scenic beauty, Wainui Falls holds cultural significance for the indigenous Māori people, who have long revered these lands as sacred. For centuries, the falls have been a place of spiritual significance, with stories and legends passed down through generations.

In addition to its natural and cultural significance, Wainui Falls also serves as a haven for biodiversity, with the surrounding forest providing a habitat for a diverse array of plant and animal species. From towering trees to delicate ferns and mosses, the ecosystem surrounding the falls is teeming with life, making it a paradise for botanists and wildlife enthusiasts.

How to get there: The Wainui Falls track begins at the Wainui Bay carpark, turning right off Abel Tasman Drive between Tata Beach and Totaranui.