Whangarei Falls

Whangarei Falls: The perfect picnic spot on your Northland Road Trip

Thundering water careering into a clear pool below… sounds like a tropical island paradise right?  Well this picture perfect waterfall is just a short walk, easy for the whole family, and is only 5 minutes from the main highway.  Welcome to Whangarei Falls!  

Recently we headed from Auckland, all the way up to Coopers Beach, Northland for a wedding.  We have driven up there before, but I just cannot figure out why we hadn’t looked up this place.  It is the perfect halfway point and being only a few minutes off the main road, it meant it wasn’t a huge detour.

Nathan and Kipton from Backyard Travel Family hold hands as they admire Whangarei Falls, Northland
Beauitful Whangarei Falls from the lower viewpoint track

Well signposted from the main road, just on the northern side of Whangarei, you will find numerous picnic tables, well maintained toilet facilities, along with free parking.

The thing I really liked about this waterfall, was you could view it from the top, as well as walk down to the bottom.  A quick 10 minute walk takes you down a bush track, over a wee bridge and you have access to the water below. You can even swim here, which we would have done if we weren’t pressed for time.

The whole Whangarei Falls loop track is about 1km in length and will take a leisurely 30 minutes to walk.  There are obviously stairs/incline if you head to the base of the falls, but it is short so should be manageable to most people.  You can of course view the falls from the upper viewpoints which is equally as beautiful.

This short walk is a must do for all families, whether you are staying in Whangarei or passing through to upper Northland.  If you wish to complete a longer walk, you can also check out the Sands Road loop that incorporates Whangarei Falls as well as a second waterfall and swing bridge.  

Other awesome things to see and do in Northland

Locals swim at the base of Whangarei Falls, Northland, New Zealand
Whangarei Falls from the upper viewpoint
Water pooling at the top of Whangarei FAlls


Founder of Backyard Travel Family

Jen is a super organiser when it comes to travel. Having travelled extensively in Europe and Africa, has lived in London and the USA and holidayed in many parts of Asia, she is not a newbie to the travel space

Jen has three young children, 6 and under and travels around New Zealand with them.

Backyard Travel Family New Zealand. Lets share these articles and spread the love

what you need to know


- Whangarei Falls is located on 6 Ngunguru Road. It is well signposted from State Highway 1, on the right handside heading North, so just follow the signs
- 10 mins north of Whangarei town centre

The waterfall

- 26.3m high
- viewpoints from above and below
- you can swim at Whangarei Falls

Suitable for kids?

Yes! This short walk is great for kids, being only 1km long. There is a wee bridge with no rails and a few stairs involved, but nothing some hand holding won't fix.


- Free Parking
- Toilets
- Picnic tables in the grassy area near the top viewpoints
- Some shade

What to bring

- Swimsuit and towel
- Picnic/food

Food options

As you are close to Whangarei township, there are plenty of cafes/supermarkets/stores closeby

What the critics thought

We stopped here after the airport. We took a plane today. And we had a picnic at the table and we ran down the track to see the waterfall. It's the biggest one in the whole world. We kept hiding from Mummy in the bush.

(mum edit: its not the biggest one in the whole world)
Backyard Travel Family / Your go to for practical advice for active families travelling around New Zealand
3 year old Firecracker
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