Discover the best waterfalls in Auckland – as written by a local.
Waterfalls have always held a fascination for people.
It’s reputed that the sight and sound of waterfalls stimulate serotonin in the body – known as the ‘feel-good’ hormone – so it’s no wonder people often go to great lengths to seek them out!
Though we enjoy visiting these falls at any time, they’re most impressive after heavy rains.
Many spots are suitable for swimming and picnics too, so if the sun is finally shining after days of rain and you’re looking to escape to the wilderness, load up the car and make a day of it!
Here are our picks for the seven best waterfalls to visit in and around Auckland…
Our favourite Auckland waterfalls
Located within the western part of the Hunua Ranges Regional Park, this spectacular ‘cascade’ waterfall, which plunges over rocks and boulders, is a very popular attraction.
With many easy bush walks and tranquil picnic spots nearby, it’s a ‘must-visit’ for any weekend waterfall chaser.
Just a short walk from the car park, the falls themselves are 30 metres high and easily viewed from many convenient vantage points.
A further 20 minutes of walking will take you to the lookout – a popular photography spot where the views are truly breathtaking.
To get to Hunua Falls, take the Papakura exit off State Highway 1 and follow the signs.
The journey should take approximately 45 minutes from central Auckland, travelling south.
Oakley Creek Falls
Only 15 to 20 minutes from Auckland City Centre, Oakley Creek Falls is the highest urban waterfall in New Zealand and the only one in central Auckland.
From Auckland City, travel west on State Highway 16 and take exit 8 on to Great North Road, where you’ll find the Oakley Reserve on your left.
Oakley Falls is very accessible – it takes just five minutes to reach the base of the falls from the entry to the reserve.
While you’re there, you can also take a stroll around the Oakley Creek Walkway, a 20-minute loop and a scenic walk that winds through established bush.
This waterfall is a great family-friendly activity. Plus there are some great nearby playgrounds for children to explore before or after the walk.
To avoid disappointment, be sure to visit after a good drenching of rain when the waterfall is at its most spectacular.
If you want to discover a hidden paradise on Auckland’s west coast, Mokaroa Falls ticks all the boxes.
With not just one, but two waterfalls here, tucked away between Muriwai and the Waitakere Ranges, this is another family-friendly waterfall walk.
And if you combine it with Goldie Bush Walkway, it’s a memorable bush walk that includes a number of fun river crossings!
What’s more, it only takes a few minutes to reach the main attraction.
Mokaroa Falls are curtain waterfalls, so they’re the type that drop freely from the cliffs above into the pools below… Picture Victoria Falls, but on a much smaller scale.
If you’re an avid or amateur photographer, be sure to bring your camera on this outing as curtain falls make for some mesmerising pictures.
Mokaroa Falls is just a pleasant, 45-minute drive from Central Auckland, heading west.
If you’re familiar with the filming location for the famous 1993 film ‘The Piano’, you might’ve heard of Karekare. Located in the western part of Waitakere Ranges, it’s about an hour’s drive from Central Auckland.
Karekare Falls is a horsetail waterfall – a long and thin fall where the water stays in contact with the rocks.
There isn’t a huge amount of water here, so Karekare falls is best visited after a good downpour.
Like Oakley and Mokoroa Falls, it’s very easily accessible – just a short, 5-minute walk to the base of the falls.
On your way there, it’s worth checking out Opal Pool Stream Cascade – a peaceful, 4-metre-high waterfall.
We also recommend you take a picnic with and set up for a scenic snack at the picnic area by the falls, or make your way back through the car park and over to Karekare Beach for a bite to eat by the ocean.
Not far from Karekare Falls, you’ll find Kitekite Falls.
Located in Piha, Kitekite Falls, this is one of the very best waterfalls in Auckland – and it’s almost home to one of our favourite little bush walks.
The walk in total takes about an hour, providing the opportunity to see the falls from a distance, the bottom and also from the top.
You can even swim in the larger pool at the bottom or the smaller pool at the very top of the falls.
The falls themselves are 40 metres high, with several drops… and we’re sure you’ll agree, they’re absolutely stunning.
Bethells Beach is well-known by most Aucklanders, but many are unaware that just a few hundred metres away lies Wainamu Falls – a small but picturesque cascade waterfall that’s well worth seeing.
Again, best visited after a substantial amount of rain, Wainamu Falls is located on the track that loops around Lake Wainamu.
You can swim at the base of the falls and in Lake Wainamu too – just make sure to supervise children closely as the swimming hole is very deep in parts.
And if you make your way back from the lake across the sand dunes, you’ll see children (and big kids too) racing down the dunes on boogie boards and skim boards.
It’s worth noting there’s no mobile phone coverage here.
Parking is limited too, so it’s best to avoid visiting on the weekend or public holidays if you can.
Lucas Creek Waterfall
If you’re in Auckland and you haven’t visited Lucas Creek Waterfall yet, what are you waiting for?
Just a stone’s throw from the centre of Albany, Lucas Creek Waterfall a beautiful little waterfall… and many don’t even know it exists.
Load up the family and your togs (bathing suit) and towel for this one; Lucas Creek Falls has a nice swimming hole, is dog friendly and also is a fascinating place for kids to explore.
The short track to the falls is pram and wheelchair-friendly and it only takes a few minutes to get there – you can even take a beach trolley with you if you wish.
After you’ve visited the falls and worked up an appetite, we suggest making the most of your time on the North Shore by visiting one of the local cafes or restaurants.
And there you have it – our favourite waterfalls in Auckland.
Which will you go on your next day out exploring?