The horseshoe-shaped Haruru Falls is located in a hidden valley along the peaceful Waitangi River, near the Waitangi Treaty grounds. The river drops above five metres into a large lagoon. The word “haruru” means “big noise” in Māori, and during heavy rain there is a torrent of water over the falls.
Kayaking in the lagoon is popular, and you can get right up to the bottom of the waterfall by boat or kayak.
Swimming at the base of the Haruru Falls is also popular in summer – not that the water at the base of the falls is deep, and you need to keep an eye for the various watercraft. You may also find a few rope swings from which you can leap into the river.
In the 1800s, the banks of the Waitangi River were lined with over a hundred Māori villages. A popular Māori legend says a taniwha (water monster) lives in the lagoon below the cascading waterfall.
Getting to Haruru Falls
Haruru Falls is roughly 3.5 hours drive away from Auckland or 10-15 minutes from Paihia. The waterfall can be seen from above via a 2minm walk from the carpark, or across the lagoon from the end of Old Whar Road (Waitangi). The Falls Motel rents kayaks.
The longer Waitangi Track accesses the the Haruru Falls from the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, following the Waitangi River through native bushland and a mangrove forest. before reaching the rushing falls. The trail is about 5km one-way (1 hour).