Also known as Te Rerekawau Falls, Kaiate Falls is located in Welcome Bay in the Bay of Plenty is a set of waterfalls that were created where the Kaiate stream flows over ignimbrite bluffs. Near 126 Kaiate Falls Road and 25 km from Tauranga.
This waterfall also had a third name and was also formerly known as “Shag Falls”, specifically referring to the powerful black and white shag, which was a long-necked sea bird known for its strong, unswerving flight as it could dive from the sky to catch fish in the water.
Apparently, there used to be a shag colony located nearby the lower waterfall, which it was said that Maori warriors often identified with shags as guardian spirits.
The first main section consisted of a three-tiered series of falls.
The second section, is 15m high and follows the first one with an attractive plunge of a lower waterfall.
The clear pools at the lower falls are perfect for swimming. Large kohekohe and puriri trees line the walking trails.
The walk is approximately 2 km and will take you around 45 mins to 1 hour at a leisurely pace. There are a few steps so unfortunately the walk is not wheelchair friendly.
The track is well signposted. When viewing the upper falls there are wooden steps to the right of the junction which gives you a better view of the falls.
The lower waterfall skirts a secluded plunge pool, crosses and rocky ledge then crosses a bridge and climbs up to a lookout where you can get views of the upper Kaiate Falls through black tree ferns.
As you head back round the loop make sure to look over your shoulder to get lovely views of Mt Maunganui and Tauranga port.
The track is open for dogs who will also enjoy playing in the stream by the car park.