Waireinga/Bridal Veil Falls, Raglan

Waireinga/Bridal Veil Falls is a 55-metre high, spectacular waterfall in the Raglan area of Waikato. The falls are well signposted and accessible from SH23, along Te Mata Road and continuing about 4 km along Kawhia Road. There is a parking area alongside Kawhia Road, and a wide track with an easy gradient leads from the parking area, past DoC toilets and a picnic area, to the top of the falls. At the top of the falls there are two viewing platforms, one looking straight down the waterfall and the other looking across to the whole waterfall.

The easy track to the top of the waterfalls is about 500 metres long, and follows the Pakoka River through native forest. The track from the top to the bottom of the falls is steep, with 261 formed steps. About halfway down there is another viewing platform, and at the bottom there is a bridge across Pakoka River with direct views of the falls, and a shelter with information panels. Information about the falls can be found on the DoC web site. Dogs are not allowed at the falls, and the water is not suitable for swimming.

The signage indicates a walking time of 10 minutes each way to the top of the falls, and another 10 minutes each way to the bottom of the falls. This would also leave time for viewing the falls from each of the viewing platforms.

The parking area along the edge of Kawhia Road, looking towards the Te Mata Road end, and with the entrance to the falls near the far end of the parking area. There is also a reserved parking area for buses.

The entry to the Waireinga/ Bridal Veil Falls track. Freedom camping is not permitted in the parking area.

The track to the top of the falls is wide, well formed, and with an easy gradient. Despite the clear signage that dogs are not allowed in the reserve there were people with dogs visiting the site.

About 50 metres from the start of the track a branch to the left leads to a couple of basic DoC toilets, and a branch to the right leads to a small picnic area alongside the Pakoka River. The track directly ahead leads across a small bridge and continues on to the waterfalls.

A carved Pou greets visitors to the Waireinga/Bridal Veil Falls. The plaque has a greeting in Maori, and an English text that reads “We greet all of you who come from near and far to this special place. Step lightly and enjoy.”

The Pokaka River heading towards the top of the falls, with the walking track on the right.

The track opens out, with a short track to the left leading to the viewing platform to look straight down on the falls, and the track to the right leading to the other upper viewing platform and on to the bottom of the falls.

Various information panels can be found along the walkway and at the viewing platforms. These ones are located by the junction shown above.

A small panel by the top viewing platform.

Looking directly down the waterfall from the top of the falls viewing platform. The bridge across Pakoka River at the bottom of the falls can be seen in the top right hand corner of the photo.

The track to the right at the junction shown earlier leads to the other top viewing platform. Here the whole falls are visible.

From this viewing platform a set of about 260 steps leads to the middle viewing platform and the bridge across Pakoka River and the information shelter at the bottom of the falls.

The view of the falls from the middle viewing platform.

The bridge across the Pakoka River at the bottom of the falls, with good views directly onto the front of the falls.

Waireinga/Bridal Veil Falls seen from the bridge across Pokaka River.

From the bridge the information shelter at the bottom of the falls can be seen among the vegetation to the right. The falls are off picture to the left.

The sound of the falls is very loud, and spray from the falls often drifts across the bridge at the bottom. The short video gives an impression of the sound of the falls.

The GPS tracklog shows the tracks followed and the items of interest. The log should show the same track in both directions, but due to reception under vegetation cover the two do not show identical locations.

Total distance was about 1.6 km, with a total time of 40 minutes. This included 10 minutes each way between carpark and top of falls, and 10 minutes each way between top of falls and bottom of falls.

The aerial image, from Google Maps, shows the same area as the tracklog.

The tracks were walked on August 30, 2020.

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