More than a clearing in the forest


More than a clearing in the forest

Bridal Veil Falls 1
The Waikato falls pack a great visual punch with a 55-metre plunge

it almost looks like you are peering over the edge of a collapsed volcanic crater

Prepare to be gobsmacked when you emerge from a 10-minute bush walk to find yourself at the top of the Wairēinga/Bridal Veil Falls near Raglan.

As someone who has driven up and down this country many times, scouring the guidebooks for hidden treasures in the nooks and crannies of our awesome geography, I hadn’t even come across a photo of this spectacular sight, which made it even more impressive on first viewing.

A track follows alongside the Pakoka River to a clearing in the bush, where it disappears over a drop.

At first sight, it almost looks like you are peering over the edge of a collapsed volcanic crater, but actually the river has been flowing over the top of hard basalt rock, which has resisted erosion.

When the river comes to the end of the band of basalt, it falls down onto much softer sandstone. The resulting erosion has created a huge amphitheatre, with a striking classic waterfall, dropping 55 metres to the pool below.

A look down to the pool below challenges visitors with vertigo

The surrounding native forest is, in places, a brilliant green. I’m not sure if it was fresh growth or maybe the effect of the water spray, but the green is certainly intense.

Some of the surrounding bush is a vibrant green

The track to the top of the falls is wide and can be traversed by wheelchair. Beyond this point, a staircase with 261 steps leads to two further viewing platforms and bridge and shelter at the base of the falls.

It is about a 15-minute drive from Raglan to the start of the track.

Two hundred and sixty-one steps take the visitor to the bottom of the falls