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Omanawa Falls development

Omanawa Falls Closure notices

The Omanawa Falls are owned by Tauranga City Council and are closed to the public for safety reasons. We are working with Ngāti Hangarau and Tourism Bay of Plenty to understand how we can open the falls to our community.

We are committed to reopening the Omanawa Falls only when it is safe to do so, with full consideration being given to the historical, cultural and environmental significance of this special site.

Until this time, please do not visit this location. If you hear of a friend planning to go, please tell them not to visit as it is incredibly dangerous.

Alternative fresh-water swimming options, including Kaiate Falls are a short drive away.
Visitor information for Bay of Plenty waterfalls (3.9mb pdf)
 

Omanawa Falls is closed

There is currently no public access to Omanawa Falls and access to the bottom of the falls has always been closed to the public. 

Despite being closed people have continued to visit the falls. Over the years there has been a number of people who have seriously injured themselves while trying to get to the falls or who have needed rescuing after becoming trapped at the bottom of the falls basin. There has also been two fatalities.

To ensure people are aware of the dangers, the track closure is clearly signposted to visitors. 

To re-open the falls, as has been directed by council, we will need to construct safe access. 

Cultural significance

The Omanawa Falls area is in the rohe of Ngāti Hangarau. Tauranga City Council is partnering directly with Ngāti Hangarau on the design and development of this site.  

Project

The Omanawa Falls and surrounds are an existing natural, historical and cultural wonder, which has significant ecological status. The steep cliffs surrounding the falls, (are unstable in parts), meaning that creating safe access will be challenging.

Since establishing a project group in 2019, council has been working with Ngāti Hangarau and Tourism Bay of Plenty to create physically safe access and we have now largely agreed a co-design plan to provide access to the Omanawa Falls. 

Features of the design include a viewing platform, upgraded track, as well as supporting infrastructure such as carparking and public toilets. (See image below.)

Omanawa Falls Map

Ngāti Hangarau, Tauranga City Council, and Tourism Bay of Plenty see increasing understanding of the cultural significance of the area as a key benefit of the project. 

Consenting application

We expect to apply for resource consent by April 2021. This will outline all the key aspects of the
project, particularly in regard to the design, timeline and the level of activity anticipated after the project is complete. At this time we will be talking directly to local Omanawa residents who are directly affected by this development.

Funding

Tauranga City Council has invested $978,945 on the project to date. This includes technical reports and the purchase of 1031 Omanawa Road to help facilitate development.

Tauranga City Council has received $1m from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

Tauranga City Council has also committed another $857k to the project through the 2020- 2021 Annual Plan.

The project partners are seeking additional third party funds to deliver this project.

Council recently approved budget allocation for the Omanawa Falls project of $3.5 million to go into the draft 2021-2031 Long Term Plan to provide more certainty on funding. This is to enable the project to proceed to current project timelines.

Media releases

 

Co-design agreed for Omanawa Falls
Omanawa Falls development
Access to Omanawa Falls remains closed
Kaitiaki onsite at Omanawa Falls this summer
Council set to deliver design for safe access to Omanawa Falls

Project timeline

  • Late 2019 project group established
  • 2020 develop and agree project scope
  • Second half 2020 begin design process
  • Dec 2020 Kaitiaki/educators begin at Omanawa Falls front entrance
  • Early 2021 agree and share design
  • April 2021 apply for consents for site development
  • 2021 begin construction

Contact

If you have any questions or feedback please email parks.projects@tauranga.govt.nz

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