The Taranaki Falls in the Tongariro National Park were formed over 15,000 years ago by a large lava flow which erupted from Mount Ruapehu. The Wairere Stream tumbles 20m through a narrow channel in the edge of the lava flow and into a pool below.
It’s a very picturesque waterfall, with sheer cliffs on both sides, and tall beech forest below.
Above the falls, the shoulder of the lava flow is covered with red tussock, and the landscape is very open. Behind the Wairere Stream is Mount Ruapehu.
Below the falls, the stream has eroded a path through tall forest consisting of mountain beech, shiny broadleaf, mountain five-finger, umbrella ferns and mountain toatoa. In a few places, the stream has carved deep gullies, including the Cascade Falls.
Getting to Taranaki Falls
The Taranaki Falls Walk is a short (6km) and popular loop walk from Whakapapa village that visits the waterfall. If you do the Tongariro Northern Circuit, you’ll also pass the top of the falls. The loop walk takes you to the top and bottom of the falls; the best views are from the base of the falls.