Spotlight on New Zealand: Hidden Waterfalls


Hidden behind dense bush and forest, many a spectacular waterfall is missed by those traveling New Zealand’s highways and byways.

The Marakopa Falls, just 30 kilometers west of Waitomo Caves, is one such waterfall.  Like many of the waterfalls in New Zealand, the Marakopa Falls were formed by an earthquake fault that forces the river water to intially bound along small steps and then plunge down the forested cliff.

Access to the falls is easy. A lookout built at the top of the hill provides an overview of the falls.  But if you want to get up close and personal, a short walk through the forest will get you close enough to feel the spray across you face

The Bridal Veil Falls, located 21 kilometers south of the small surfing town of Raglan on the west coast of the North Island, is yet another spectacular waterfall that has been enthralling travellers for decades.

As far back as 1898, a Lands and Survey report was advising visitors not to miss these waterfalls.

There is a track that will lead you to a lookout that offers a view of the quietly meandering Pakoka stream as it disappears through a gap in the fern and transforms into a thundering casade plummeting over a steep cliff into a rocky basin. Having dropped 55 meters, the water than continues to meander along the stream.

For an even more dramatic view, hike another ten minutes down a fairly steep path to the waterfall basin. Here, the misty spray from water cascading over a moss-covered ridge evokes images of fine white lace, giving meaning to the name ‘Bridal Veil Falls.’

To discover more of New Zealand’s spectacular waterfalls, get a hold of a copy of Walks to Waterfalls: 100 New Zealand Waterfalls by Russell Kirkpatrick.

(Image credits: Marokopa Falls via flickr  xoque; Bridal Veil Falls via flickr Angela Bethell)


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