The Marokopa Falls are some of the most beautiful waterfalls in New Zealand. The 35 meter high waterfall flows down the rocks into a deep pool below, creating a powerful roar and misty atmosphere. Surrounded by lush greenery and native bush, the Marokopa Falls is a beautiful natural attraction to visit in Waitomo. The waterfall viewing platform is very easy accessible by a short walk from the car park. There is an option to get down to the waterfall in the river, however the original staircase and platform has been wiped out in 2023. Nevertheless, the view on Marokopa Falls is breathtaking, and is you feel really adventurous you can still get down to the river via an unofficial path through the forest. More about that later in this guide!
How to get to Marokopa Falls walk
The Marokopa Falls are located in the Waitomo District on New Zealand’s North Island along the Te Anga road. This road is easy to follow whether you’re coming from PioPio or the Hamilton area. The car park isn’t too big, but generally it won’t be too busy and people will come and go to visit the falls. As it’s only a short 10 minute walk to the viewing platform you don’t need too much time unless you want to make it down to the river. Then you will need some more time as it’s currently (2023) and unofficial path going down through the forest which is quite a scramble!
About the Marokopa Falls
The Marokopa Falls are a classic block-shaped waterfall of 35 meters (115 feet) height. Surrounded by stunning lush greenery, it is a great stop to stretch the legs and a perfect combination after or before visiting the Waitomo Caves and the Mangapohue Natural Bridge.
The water of Marokopa Falls seeps down along the cliff and gets separated by the rocks creating a stunning veil of different streams. It’s truly breathtaking to look at the falls. And if you’re at the right time on a sunny day, you might even see a beautiful rainbow appear!
History of the Marokopa Falls
Marokopa Falls has been an important site for the Maori people for centuries. The waterfall and the surrounding area are believed to have spiritual significance, and it has been used for fishing, bathing, and other cultural activities.
In more recent times, Marokopa Falls has become a popular tourist destination. The falls and the surrounding bushland were purchased by the New Zealand government in the early 20th century, and a walking track and picnic area were established in the 1930s.
Since then, the site has undergone various developments and improvements, including the installation of viewing platforms and other facilities to make it more accessible for visitors.
Best time to visit Marokopa Falls
Marokopa Falls can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit is when the falls are at their most impressive which is during the rainy season. This period typically runs from May to August in the North Island of New Zealand. During this time, the Marokopa River is at its highest, and the falls will be at their most powerful and visually stunning.
However, heavy rainfall can also make the water muddy and therefore turn the waterfall into a brown mud stream. When we visited the Marokopa Falls in March, the waterfall was stunning and in good shape for photography.
In terms of the best time of the day for visiting, I would recommend in the afternoon. Because in the early morning, the sun is still behind the waterfall and therefore the valley where the waterfall is located is still dark. During the afternoon, the sun shines more onto the falls. This is somewhat annoying for photography, because the whites will blow out easily with harsh sunshine. But it can also create a magical rainbow thanks to the spray of the waterfall.
What to expect at Marokopa Falls walk
The short and easy track to the viewing platform of Marokopa Falls passes through native tawa and nikau forest. It’s a stunning short walk over a well maintained gravel path and only takes about 10 minutes to reach the viewing platform.
Previously it was possible to get down to the river from this viewing platform. However due to the floods in 2023 the viewing platform and stairs have been washed away. It is still possible to get down to the river via an unofficial path through the forest. This is a bit of a scramble with steep section where you will need your hands to grab a tree root. Sounds adventures to you? Lace up your hiking shoes and head out on this little adventure. It will take about 15 – 20 minutes to get down the river and up won’t take longer than 10 minutes.
The view from the river on Marokopa Falls is truly impressive. It’s a completely different perspective than from the upper lookout. Let’s hope a new set of stairs will be built so that people of all abilities can get down again!
Where to stay nearby Marokopa Falls
Waitomo is a small town known for its extensive cave systems, which are a major tourist attraction in the area together with the Marokopa Falls. There are several accommodation options in Waitomo village, ranging from basic backpacker hostels to more upscale hotels and lodges. Check here the best places to stay in Waitomo.
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!
Be insured during your travels!
A slip can happen during hiking before you realize it, and the consequences can be bigger than you want to think of.
We are very happy with SafetyWing and highly recommend getting an insurance with them!
More New Zealand travel guides
I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about the Marokopa Falls on the North Island of New Zealand. Make sure to put this awesome waterfall on your New Zealand North Island itinerary! Check here our complete guide to the 30 best New Zealand waterfalls.
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!