Kerikeri is a small town located on an hour drive north of Whangarei. The lush forest and abundance of rivers creates many waterfalls in KeriKeri which are worth checking out. Therefore its a great day trip from Whangarei to drive to KeriKeri and explore some of the stunning KeriKeri Falls. We have visited them all and share with you in this complete guide the 7 best KeriKeri waterfalls which you have to see!
7 BEST KERIKERI WATERFALLS
The Rainbow Falls is a 27 meter high spectacular waterfall in KeriKeri. It is without a doubt the most beautiful waterfall in Northland together with Whangarei Falls. Via the car park you can follow the short Rainbow Falls track to the base of the waterfall, but make sure to first check out the other viewpoints at the top of the falls.
The short track goes through native forest until you get to the open area where the swimming hole of Rainbow Falls is. Here you can relax for some while or even take a swim if you feel like it!
The Rainbow Falls is connected to the Kerikeri River Track which we highly recommend to walk at least a part of it. This 8.4km return walk from the Stone Store takes you to the Fairy Pools and Wharepoke Falls. But you can also take the car and drive to one of the other access points to get to the Wharepoke Falls. However, you will then miss out on a stunning part of the walk that follows the river through stunning forest.
So if you have the time, walk at least a part of the KeriKeri River Track and eventually combine a visit to the Wharepoke Falls together with the Rainbow Falls.
Although not really to be called a ‘waterfall’, the Fairy Pools are a nice little stop along the KeriKeri River Track. You will pass by this spot when walking via the Southside Track and in the summer months it’s a great spot for swimming.
Although the Wharepoke Falls aren’t one of the tallest KeriKeri waterfalls, it’s a beautiful stop along the KeriKeri River Track. This wide waterfall also has a large natural swimming hole but doesn’t have any facilities around like a bench or a place to put your stuff.
The form of the waterfall changes quite a lot depending on the amount of rain and river height. When we visited the Wharepoke Falls in April there wasn’t water flowing over the entire width of the rock. So it is likely that the Wharepoke Falls are more powerful after rainy days and eventually winter months.
Nevertheless, it’s worth it to make the detour to the Wharepoke Falls as this is one of the best KeriKeri walks taking you through the beautiful native forest of KeriKeri.
Te Wairere Falls
Te Wairere waterfall, also known as Wairoa Stream Falls, has a special background story. The waterfall has been lost for 60 years because the land surrounding the falls blocked the access which resulted in completely overgrown land. But then the Kerikeri community decided to create access again and ever since the re-opening of the Te Wairere Falls in April 2017, it is now possible to visit this stunning hidden gem. It is definitely one of the most beautiful KeriKeri waterfalls and accessible via an easy 1.7km return track.
This walk starts from the Cobham Road and takes you through the forest down a couple of staircases to the base of the falls. There you can find a bench to relax for some time. Don’t forget to check out the other hidden waterfall which is signposted.
Secret waterfall at Te Wairere
If you pay attention when walking towards Te Wairere waterfall you will see a sign pointing towards the secret waterfall. This one is tucked away about 150 meters beyond Te Wairere Waterfall. Only after a decent amount of rainfall it will be strongly flowing, however there was still a little stream when we visited in April. Not the most impressive waterfall in New Zealand. But nevertheless worth it to check out when you are at Te Wairere anyway.
You will find the waterfall right before you cross the bridge back to the car park. There you will see a worn path and small sign pointing towards the waterfall.
Charlie’s Rock swimming hole and waterfall
One of the most popular swimming holes in KeriKeri is Charlie’s Rock. This waterfall cascades down the basalt rocks into a large natural swimming pool. It’s a short 800 meter walk to the falls past farmland before it gets a bit rockier in the last part to the falls. When we have visited Charlie’s Rock in April there was a wall full of flowers which we passed on the way to the waterfall. It was stunning and a true art of nature!
Once arrived at Charlie’s Rock you will see there is a side of rocks where you can put your stuff if you want to go for a swim. The tiered rocks make is easy to get yourself into the water so you don’t have to jump if you don’t want to. In the summer months it can get pretty busy with locals, so it’s a great way to connect. Just be careful for the current after heavy rain and make sure to always know the limit of your own abilities when swimming in nature.
The Haruru Falls are a short drive outside of KeriKeri located. The wide waterfall of approximately 5 meters in height can be viewed from several vantage points, including a boardwalk that leads to a viewing platform near the base of the falls. The name “Haruru” means “big noise” in Maori, which is a fitting name for the falls as the sound of the water crashing into the pool below can be quite loud, especially during times of high flow.
One of the unique features of Haruru Falls is the opportunity to take a guided canoe trip up the Waitangi River to the base of the waterfall. This allows visitors to experience the beauty of the waterfall up close and also learn about the history and culture of the local Maori people, who have a strong connection to the river and the land surrounding it.
There is also a rope swing which you can access via the tree you have to climb up. Definitely a fun thing to do in summer months when it’s safe to swim in the natural pool of Haruru Falls.
Overall a visit to Haruru Falls is a nice little stop and one of the KeriKeri waterfalls you can’t miss!
How to get around in New Zealand
To experience New Zealand to the fullest and at your own pace, renting a car, campervan or motorhome is the best way to get around. Which one of these options you choose depends on your preference and budget. If you love camping, being outdoors all day and you don’t mind a smaller living space, then renting a camper van is the way to go. It also gives you the freedom to sleep at some of the most beautiful camping spots, but for some of them you’ll have to make a reservation and plan your trip accordingly. The same goes for a motorhome which is bigger than a campervan and fits about 4-6 people. Here’s what you need to know about renting a car, camper van or motorhome in New Zealand.
Car rental New Zealand
Renting a car in New Zealand is the easiest and cheapest rental vehicle available. It will get you to all the best destinations with ease and gives you the freedom to stop for a break wherever you want. However, you should keep in mind that some roads in New Zealand are still gravel or that you have to cross shallow rivers to some destinations in National Parks. Therefore we personally recommend a mini SUV or SUV model to have enough clearance for these kind of roads. The best place to book your rental car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare different car models, prices, companies and terms and conditions. Make sure to secure the booking of your rental car as soon as possible to have the lowest price possible. Prices go up the closer you get to the pick up date.
Campervan rental in New Zealand
Traveling around in a campervan is one of the most popular ways for a roadtrip in New Zealand. With a bed, small kitchen and seating area you will have all the (basic) needs on four wheels. A campervan allows you to camp at plenty of beautiful places, sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee. It will you give you a true feeling of freedom and connects you with nature.
We personally recommend to book your campervan with Travellers Autobarn as they have a wide range of Stationwagons, 2-berth campervans & 3-5 berth campervans to hire for all budgets. All Travellers Autobarn campervan hires in New Zealand come with free unlimited kilometers, 10% discount to premium campgrounds, 24/7 road side assistance & long term rental discounts. Check the availability and prices today to secure your campervan for a New Zealand dream roadtrip!
More New Zealand travel guides
I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about the best KeriKeri waterfalls on the North Island of New Zealand. Make sure to put some of these, or all, waterfalls in KeriKeri on your New Zealand North Island itinerary!
There are many amazing other things to do and places to visit on the North Island of New Zealand. So if you’re looking for more inspiration and ideas, head over to our other New Zealand travel guides!