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Walks

Waitomo’s 2-Day Dundle Hill Walk

  • Allow one night and two days
  • 27km clearly marked track
  • Kay’s Cabin is situated half way up on Dundle Hill
  • Walk starts and ends in Waitomo Caves Village
  • Experience Waitomo’s landscape
  • Walk through native bush, limestone formations, caves, forestry and farmland.

Adult: $75
Secondary school students: $50
12 years old and under: $35
$125.00 luggage transport each way. 9 or more $15 each way per person.
You will need: Tramping boots, backpack, food, water, sleeping bag, candles, torch and matches
Photos permitted: Yes
Maximum Group Size: 25
Standard Trip Time: By arrangement
What is provided: Bunks, mattresses and pillows, wood burning fires, BBQ, all cooking utensils and cutlery. Catering by arrangement.

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Waitomo Walkway and Natural Bridge walk – free

One of the areas gems. This is one of the best short walks in the country. The loop track takes you up a short gorge surrounded by lush native bush, through some short caves and over the top of a spectacular limestone bridge, the last remnant of an old cave system. To start the walk in Waitomo village it takes approx 3 hours return, but you can choose to part in the Ruakuri scenic reserve and just do the loop track which takes approximately 30-40mins. If you want to see glowworms try this walk at night when there is no moon. The display from the bridge in the gorge is fantastic and the further up the track there is a viewing platform under the natural bridge. If you are lucky you may even see some of the local bat population.

 

Marokopa falls - free

This massive waterfall is definitely worth a visit. It is exciting to see and feel the power of nature. As soon as you get out of your car at the carpark you can hear the roar of this 55 metre high waterfall, you can almost feel the vibration in the ground created by the plunging water.  It is about a 10 min walk from the road down to a point where you can get excellent views up the river to the waterfall.  What an awesome sight it is of the huge cataract at the head of a massive ampitheatre. On a day when the water is high the viewing platform will be swept by mist from the cascading water which is over 200 metres away.  This waterfall runs over an escarpment originally formed near the Marokopa faultline, but has now moved back from the fault due to backward erosion of the river.  Softer Oligocene limestones overlay the tilted, distinctly bedded Mesozoic greywackes which are the basement rocks of the area.

 

Mangapohue Natural Bridge - free

It appears that the Mangapohue Stream has avoided seemingly easier routes, intercepted a small fault, and carved a straight path through a small hill.  A clockwise loop walk initially follows the stream and you can see the spectacular Natural Bridge that is formed from an intact 20m section of a thin cavern roof where you can see speleothems.  Beyond the bridge follow the track loop uphill through excellent exposures of the oyster-bearing Orahiri Limestone.  Fantastic place to see glowworms at night for free.

 

Piripiri Cave - free

This small cave has been known to early European settlers and users of the old coach road since at least the turn of the century.  Beds of fossil oysters and whale bone outcrop in the cave in the Orahiri Limestone.

 

Tawarau falls loop – free

This walk takes approx 3 hours and is another great way to discover Waitomo for no cost. It is a loop track so one part of the walk will involve walking along about 1 kilometre of gravel road. From the end of the gravel road the track enters the route enters the bush and follows a well graded benched track slightly uphill. Not long after leaving the road there is a junction.  Straight takes you to Marae Road, Double falls and the Tawarau Gorge track. Left heads to the Tawarau falls. From the junction the track winds in and out of little gulleys with some steep ascents and descents to be negotiated.  With all the uphill it is easy to forget that the net gain is actually downhill.  The forest is stunning if you like trees.  Before the last drop into the Tawarau river you pass under spectacular rimu, matai and tawa trees. The forest is open enough to be able to really appreciate the grandness of the trees around you.

While negotiating the steep descent into the Tawarau the roar of the waterfall becomes evident and soon enough through the trees you catch a glimpse of a big drop and just after you meet the Tawarau river just before it plunges through a big slot and down the falls. Take care here as it is tempting to lean out to get a good photo.  If the tree collapses or the ground slides away under your feet you will not survive the fall!

From the waterfall the track takes you upstream past cool limestone rock formations, through a little gorge and under more impressive trees. There are three river crossings where you will get your feet wet and after the bridge the track ascends up a ridge and after a little bit of thigh burning climbing you will arrive at the top and the carpark.

If you are into taking photos wait for a nice sunny day as the light in the gorge above the waterfall can be stunning. If you want a fun place to go for a run the loop makes for an exciting hour long jog.   

 

Double Falls – free

Double falls can be reached from the end of Marae Road or it can be added on as an extra while walking from Appletree Road to Speedies Road.  From the gate at Marae Road it is at least 45 minutes walk along a road to get to the start of the track which used to be in pines. All the trees have been cut down so what you will be walking through will be a landscape full of regrowth and young pines. The track to the falls is well marked and it descends off the ridge line and drops steeply down to the Tawarau river. Just before reaching there you will walk past the second waterfall, the first is a few minutes upstream. The Tawarau river at this point is well worth visiting, the track will end in a spectacular gorge  bounded by high limestone cliffs.  The river rushes between huge boulders and roars over cascades and waterfalls. It really feels like you are in the middle of nowhere.  If you have excellent navigation skills you can go upstream, scrambling over, around and under house size boulders, follow a side stream on the northern side of the gorge and if everything goes to plan you will cross a ridge on a compass bearing, grovel through a muddy valley and up onto the Bullring Track. From there you can return to your car at Marae or Apple Tree Road.  Lovely loop, does require lots of confidence in rough terrain and lots of confidence using a map and a compass. Do not rely on a GPS!

 

Tawarau gorge – free

If you want to see some awe inspiring limestone landscapes try this walk. It does require either a kind shuttle driver or two cars as the start and finish of the walk are in different places and quite a long way apart by road.

The walk itself takes most of the day and you can camp on the way if you wish. It starts at the end of Were Road and follows the old road that used to exist between Ngapaenga and Te Anga most of the way you are actually walking on the old benched road. Very soon after the start of the walk you are immersed in the limestone and bush landscape as you follow the Mangaohae stream downstream to its confluence with the Tawarau. The stream next to the track rumbles through huge rocks that have in the distant past fallen from the cliffs that can be occasionally seen through the trees. On the far side of the river there is farmland and it is not until you get past the Tawarau junction that you become totally immersed in the limestone and bush landscape. This is what the whole area used to look like just over 200 years ago. If you are lucky there will be falcons hunting, tui may well be calling from the trees and kereru will be flying lazily past. If you have a fishing licence, stop a while and try fishing some of the pools on the Tawarau, you may be lucky to pick up a small brown or rainbow trout.

Not long after blackberry flat the track starts to climb gently. As the river drops away you can hear the rumble of the rapids and waterfalls that make this part of the river an exciting proposition for rafters and kayakers.  Just as you are getting well used to the bush and all its beauty you pop out onto farmland. A marked trail across the paddocks and up and down some hills will lead you to the end of Speedies Road where hopefully you will either meet your shuttle driver.