The Mangawhero Falls is reputably the most popular waterfall in Tongariro National Park due to its easy accessibility (and views of Mt Ruapehu, which were hidden by mist and low cloud on my visit). The Mangawhero River plunges almost 30m in a single drop, into a small pool.
Along with the Tawhai Falls near Whakapapa Village, this waterfall was as a location in The Lord of the Rings: in The Two Towers it was the Forbidden Pool where Gollum was caught by Faramir. Immediately above the falls is the spot where Gollum tries to catch some fish.
Getting to Mangawhero Falls
A short walking trail (300m return) starts from a carpark 16km up Ohakune Mountain Road. The trail goes to a lookout next to the top of the waterfall, and then to a second ookout that provides a better view of the falls. There is no access to the bottom of the waterfall.
The multi-day Ruapehu Round the Mountain Track also passes the waterfall.
- World of Waterfalls – Mangawhero Falls