Travellers Love the Short Walk to Wainui Falls in Golden Bay, New Zealand

Wainui Falls, Golden Bay, New Zealand

For those who love to do short, easily accessible walks with priceless views, Wainui Falls Golden Bay is one of the best in New Zealand. The most accessible, largest waterfall in the Abel Tasman National Park and Nelson/Tasman region offers a captivating walk through forest abundant in ferns, nikau palms, and native bush. 

The walk to the waterfall is a very easy short walk along the Wainui Falls Track.

Along the trail, you will find many opportunities for perfect Instagram captures. Additionally, the scenic walk offers a chance to see wildlife such as wekas, pukekos, and other native New Zealand birds.

We love waterfalls, so the opportunity to see one on a short walk was one we did not want to miss! Please keep reading to get details on how to get to Wainui Falls Tasman region, what to see at Wainui Falls, essential information about the falls, and most importantly, why you should visit Wainui Falls NZ.

Wainui Falls Track
Easy access walk in the Abel Tasman National Park

Wainui Falls walk

Wainui falls is 20-metre waterfall in the Abel Tasman National Park, located at the northwestern end of the park. The Wainui Falls walk is an unforgettable 3.4 km round trip walk. It takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes at a leisurely pace and follows along the banks of the Wainui River through the lush forest. 

The gravel, dirt path to the waterfall starts with a short walk on private farmland along the valley floor and then enters the forest. It is an effortless flat walk, though you need to hop across a couple of small shallow creeks. There were stepping stones when we were there, so we didn’t get our feet wet.

Wainui Falls walk
On the way in we walked along the farm road. On the way back we went on the riverside track.

The Wainui Falls Track then follows alongside the Wainui River. In a few places, you can climb down to the water. The water is crystal clear, and there are several enticing swimming holes where you can swim, though it is rather chilly.

swimming hole in national park
We love swimming holes! But, the 15 degrees (Celcius) temperature didn’t inspire us to swim!

The walk then gradually climbs and offers majestic views of the forest and river with impressive granite boulders. It’s worth noting, even though a section of the Wainui Falls walk is uphill, we hardly felt the gradual climb. 

Also, for those with limited fitness or who like to have a relaxing walk with lots of stops, there are several benches to sit on along the trail, allowing you a chance to look out for birds.

One of your longer stops will probably be the stunning suspension bridge crossing the Wainui River. With views of the large granite boulders, it is a do-not-miss photo stop for all.

Wainui Falls swingbridge
Everyone loves a suspension bridge selfie!

One of the best waterfalls In New Zealand?

Having seen many impressive New Zealand waterfalls, we have become a bit blasé about visiting another waterfall. But once we rounded the corner on the track and saw the spray coming off the water and heard the gentle thundering of the waterfall, we knew the falls would not disappoint.

And, as the waterfall came into view in its full glory, we both looked at each other smugly. The dramatic waterfall sprayed us with mist as it cascaded over the granite boulders and made a deep pool. It felt rejuvenating.

Wainui Falls waterfall
Nope! These falls did not disappoint!

The lookout for the waterfall is a small area; however, there is a huge granite boulder you can climb on to take some beautiful selfies with you and the waterfall. 

You can also clamber across the rocks down to the water’s edge. There you will get a better view of the other, smaller waterfall to the left of the main waterfall. 

Wainui waterfalls views
Besides the smaller waterfalls such as this, there are also many cascades to view.

We rank Wainui Waterfall among New Zealand’s top, most impressive waterfalls easily reached via a short walk.

Also, we think that, due to its ease of access, the Wainui Falls walk is a South Island, New Zealand Must Do!

Essential information about Wainui Falls Track

Wainui Falls Track is part of the New Zealand Department of Conservation‘s (DOC) easy walks. 

DOC categorizes the Wainui Falls Track as an Easy: Walking track. These types of walks are gentle walks suitable for low to moderate fitness and abilities.

Regardless, it is best to wear sturdy footwear, such as hiking shoes. 

The Wainui Falls walk is mostly well-formed, with some muddy sections if it’s been raining.

Love all the New Zealand fern tree groves we walked through.

There are a few steep drops off the edge in places, and the track is slightly rougher, so watch your step if it’s a wet day, and supervise your children at all times. 

The track is narrow in places, though there is enough room for people to pass each other in both directions.

Reports state the track can get busy during the summer. However, when we were there, on a weekday in the late afternoon, we saw only two couples on the way to the waterfall.

Most importantly, in regard to Wainui Falls swimming, be aware the plunge pool at the waterfall has a strong current (Especially after rain.)  

Additionally, please note that we had no mobile coverage on our 2degrees network.

How to get to Wainui Falls, Golden Bay

Wainui Falls is a scenic 30-minute drive (20km) on a sealed road from Takaka along Abel Tasman Drive.

You will pass the charming beach village, Pohara. The 15-minute drive from Pohara to Wainui Falls offers spectacular coastal views, striking rocky outcrops, and a remarkable rock archway.

Cool rock formations on the way to Golden Bay's Wainui Falls
Cool rock formations on the way from Pohara to Golden Bay’s Wainui Falls

Follow the coast past Tata Beach. Once you cross the Wainui River Bridge, a few hundred metres to your right is the right turn onto Wainui Falls Road. There is a sign for the falls. 

The dirt road is only 350 metres, and at the end, there is a car park with toilets at the start of the Wainui Falls Track.

There is a cafe next to the car park. However, when we were there, it was closed. As we saw no signs, it is possibly closed permanently.

Wainui Falls New Zealand is a 2.5 hours drive from Nelson.

Wainui Falls swimming hole
We want to go back to Wainui Falls on a hot summer’s day, to swim in one of the refreshing swimming holes.

We hope you enjoyed this post about the Wainui Falls Track and get to visit soon. If you are in the area, make sure to check out The Best Nelson Tasman Activities & Attractions.

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