Tarawera Falls is an impressive group of waterfalls in Lake Tarawera Scenic Reserve, with the river emerging from various locations on a sheer rock face. After heavy rain there may also be water cascading down from the top of the rock face. A walking track about 5 km long links the Tarawera Outlet where water from the eastern end of Lake Tarawera at Tapahoro Bay forms the beginnings of the Tarawera River, to the Tarawera Falls lookout, and further on to a carpark on Waterfall Road. The only road access to the outlet and to the falls is from Kawerau, along gravel forest roads which require a permit to enter.
There is a DoC campground by the outlet, at the end of Tarawera Road, with parking and toilet facilities. There is also a parking area at the end of Waterfall Road, near the base of the Tarawera Falls, with a basic DoC toilet. Information about the waterfall, campgrounds, and walking tracks can be found on the DoC web site. This also includes information about obtaining a permit to access the locations by road from Kawerau.
A bridge has recently been built across the Karaponga Stream, and a track to a waterfall below the Karaponga Dam has been opened up. This post is an addition and update to the Karaponga Reserve and Dam post, over three years after that walk.
Karaponga Reserve is located at the end of Symond Road, off Braemar Road, between SH30 and SH2, near Kawerau and Matata. There is a small parking area by the reserve, and a locked gate to climb across to access the reserve. There are no toilet or other facilities nearby.
Putauaki (Mt Edgecumbe) towers 820 metres above the township of Kawerau at the southern end of the Rangitaiki Plains. The town was built in the early 1950s for to support the new pulp and paper mill being constructed at the same time. The Kawerau King of the Mountain race, a race from the town to near the summit of Putauaki and back, has been held every year since 1955. Information about the race, with entry forms and race results can be found on the Kawerau King of the Mountain web site.
Access to the mountain is now controlled, and a permit is required to climb the mountain. Due to safety concerns it is necessary to climb in groups of at least 4 people, and the office issuing the permits is only open on weekdays. See the Kawerau Online web site for more details of the mountain and the procedure required to obtain a permit.