I was wondering why this short track was so popular, as we stopped to do a last walk in Tongariro National Park on the way back to Auckland. I discover later that the Tawhai Falls was the filming location of Gollum’s pool, where Faramir and his archers watch Gollum fish.
The well sign-posted track heads gently downhill from the carpark, with occasional views of Mount Ngauruhoe in the background. Near the end of the track, there’s a timber-fenced lookout at the top of the falls.
The track then continues down to the base of the falls, where there’s a nice view of the Tawhai Falls plunging into a circular pool.
Downstream of the falls, there’s a small “beach”: we saw a few people at the carpark who’d gone for a swim drying off. It looks like an idyllic swimming spot – but the water is pretty cold.
It’s the same way back up to the carpark – the return trip with time to take a few photos takes less than half an hour. It’s worth a quick stop on the way up to or back from Whakapapa village.