Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Bridal Veil Falls – Waikato, New Zealand

The view from the lower falls river bridge.

Bridal Veil Falls (Wairēinga) are tucked away in the Western Waikato, 4km down Te Mata Road off the Hamilton/Raglan Highway (SH23).

The falls on the Pakoka River are spectacular and well worth the 10 min easy walk from the carpark to the top of the falls. To get the best out of your visit we recommend you take the extra 10 minutes to take the path down to below the falls and see the view from the bottom up. There are two additional viewing platforms on the way down to give different perspectives and photo opportunities.

The falls were created from an original volcanic eruption nearby (2.5 million years ago) that sent a lava flow down the natural river course. When the lava cooled and hardened, it formed a large area of hard basalt rock over the top of the softer original sandstone. Eventually the river cut is way down the basalt rock and cascaded over the edge, gouging out the sandstone below and forming a deep pool. In time the erosion of the sandstone in the pool undermined the basalt face and the erosion caused the rock face to become vertical instead of sloping.

For Māori, the Wairēinga falls mean ‘leaping waters’ , referring to wairua (spirits) leaping the great height of the waterfall. The falls are 55 metres (180 feet) high.

There is no swimming allowed in the pool, and abseiling on the cliff face is also prohibited.

The view of the falls from the upper-mid platform.

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