Ōmanawa Falls is a special area in the rohe of local hapū Ngāti Hangarau. Now, after safe access works to reinforce cliff faces and build walking tracks, the site is open to the public.
Ōmanawa Falls map (2mb pdf)
What you’ll find at Te Rere o Ōmanawa:
- Three lookout platforms providing panoramic views of the falls and wider Ōmanawa Valley. Information panels detail the cultural significance of the area to Ngāti Hangarau and the history of the Ōmanawa Falls Power Station.
- Carved tomokanga (gateway) and pou providing context on traditional Māori customs and how they apply at Ōmanawa Falls.
- An immersive ngahere (forest) walkway connecting the car park and lookouts. A portion of the walkway, which connects the Wairere Tapu Lookout and Te Harikoa Lookout, includes several hundred stairs so a moderate to high level of fitness is required.
- Two ecological walking loops connecting to the main walking track.
How to get to Te Rere o Ōmanawa:
Address: 1031 Ōmanawa Road, Ōmanawa
- Coming from Tauranga: Turn left off State Highway 29 down Ōmanawa Road. Ōmanawa Falls is about a 10 minute drive after the turn off.
- Coming from McLaren Falls: Continue down McLaren Falls Road to the end of the road and turn left onto Ōmanawa Road. Ōmanawa Falls is about a two minute drive after the turn off.
- Opening hours – 8am – 7.30pm in summer (when daylight saving starts), 8am – 5.30pm in winter (when daylight saving ends)
- Encouraged activities – embrace culture, respect nature, fitness and wellbeing, reflection
- Prohibited activities – No swimming, service dogs only, no alcohol, no rock climbing
Sorry, no swimming - Ōmanawa Falls has been a sacred place for Ngāti Hangarau for generations. This was and remains a place of Āio - insight, reﬂection and interpretation and a place of Rongoā - meditation and healing. Please respect these guidelines as they still apply today.
Ōmanawa Falls Power Station
The Ōmanawa Falls Power Station has a rich history in Tauranga and holds significant heritage value in Aotearoa/ New Zealand as the first underground, hydro generating power station in the country and entire Southern Hemisphere.
The power station was listed with Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga in 1996 for its historic significance and value.
Ōmanawa Falls Safe Access Project
Plans to improve public access to Ōmanawa Falls started in 2008 with the development of a reserve management plan, and funding was made available in 2018 to commence work on a public access route.
A Governance Group including Tauranga City Council, local hapū Ngāti Hangarau, and Tourism Bay of Plenty was formed in 2019 and a final public access route was confirmed in 2021.
Construction began in 2022 which included installing over 480 rock bolts and soil nails across cliff faces throughout the site. More than 750 stairs have been added to ensure access throughout the new route.