The trail to Taranaki Falls is a beautiful trail inside the Tongariro National Park in New Zealand. This is the hike we decided to do while we were there. I was looking for something scenic, beautiful, unusual, and a waterfall was an absolute must. Taranaki Falls fit that description.
The start of the trail with a view of Mount Ngauruhoe
The start of the trail is located right behind the Chateau Tongariro in Whakakapapa Village (this is the hotel we stayed at while we were in Tongariro National Park and I’ll do a separate post soon) and because the trail is a loop, you will find two entrances. We took the first one.
On the way to the waterfalls, you will be able to see Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom for Lord of the Rings fans), and Mount Ruapehu. Amazing sight for sure. The trail can get muddy so wear appropriate footwear! I was wearing super these super comfortable boots I found at Nordstrom Rack for $27. They were leather and super comfortable! It just might be my “stylish” boots for hiking.
And more Tussocks
The hike will take you through a field of tussocks. I couldn’t stop taking photos of them as they were so beautiful and vibrant in color. Although it was winter in New Zealand, the colors of the landscape reminded me of autumn, one of my favorite seasons ever (followed by spring).
This part of the hike is exposed so if you do this during the day, make sure to put sunscreen!
The stream along the trail
Soon after, you will walk through a forest and walk alongside a stream. It was mostly shaded during this part of the trail.
Beautiful plants and the bridge before the waterfall
Finally, you will cross a bridge and will see lava rocks on one side of you (depending on where you start as I mentioned that there were two entrances). This trail is a loop so you may see it on your right side or the left. Since we came from the first entrance, the lava rocks were on the right side.
Absolutely stunning am I right? I have seen many waterfalls all over but Taranaki Falls could be one of my favorite waterfalls at the moment. Maybe it’s being in a different place, so faraway from home that made it so special.
At the falls
As we started this hike pretty late, we couldn’t spend too much time at the falls as I would have liked to. My mother already left after a few minutes at the waterfall and she walked back the same way instead of completing the loop. My brother and I just followed after her.
Because of the time we started the hike, I was able to look back while on the trail and see this beautiful sight. Golden hour is one on my favorite times to shoot and hiking the trail during golden hour was beautiful. Do keep in mind that it’s best to complete the hike before the sun goes down. It can get really cold during winter (about 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter) and it’s absolutely dark at night.
Chateau Tongariro from the trail
As you are walking back towards the hotel, you will be able to see Chateau Tongariro in the distance. This is the hotel we stayed at during our time at the Tongariro National Park. The hike is about 3.7 miles round trip. I’m sure that’s the length of the loop and I’m not sure how far we hiked as we went back the same way. I heard the waterfall is exactly half way so we may have completed the 3.7 miles!
I wish we had more time to spend at Tongariro National Park! If you head up Mount Ruapehu, you can ski up there and there’s cafe at the top that we didn’t get to chance to visit! Definitely want to head back here when I do go back to New Zealand!