Arataki Visitor Center & Fairy Falls


Last week we jumped in the car for a trip to Fairy Falls with a side trip to the Arataki Visitor Center. We stopped at the visitor center first as it was on the way and were pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. The center is actually the introduction and front door to the thirty-nine thousand plus acres of rainforest, coastline and tramping tracks  of the Waitakeri Ranges and provides detailed information on plant and animal life in the forest as well as its history. That history includes the Maori’s; who include the forest as part of their family and carved the totem that greeted us when we arrived.

Arataki VC2

Did you know that Sir Edmund Hillary has a tramping track named after him here as well? It starts here at the visitor center and takes four days to complete through challenging conditions. Hillary himself used to tramp in the area  in preparation for his expeditions so you know this track is no joke or as I read somewhere; it’s not a walk in the park. Here’s a little something I found that puts it into greater perspective.

Edmund Hilary Trek Profile

Screen shot 2013-01-21 at 9.47.58 AM

Do I need to say we did not do this?   

We continued on to Fairy Falls  to check out the cascading waterfalls. The track is almost two miles long/ or 3.2 kilometers. The km’s sound like more though, don’t they? It’s a beautiful quiet fern forest with the occasional jogger or others trekking past. It’s incredible how green it is there. Plants growing on top of other plants everywhere.

FFalls Tramp1


The walk was not too bad on the way in, although I am beginning to detect a theme with waterfalls in that the way to them always starts out nice and easy and slopes downward until arriving at the beginning of the falls. Then it’s all stairs, and some gorgeous views.

1st Fall

2nd Falls

There’s three here. People can swim here too. Can you imagine?


We arrived at the bottom of the falls to  an idyllic scene of children running naked around the lowest pool. I did not take their picture.

Bottom Falls4

After a suitable amount of time spent poking around the bottom of the falls and sticking our feet in, it was bound to happen. We had to begin the climb back up to the top. Did I say there were a lot of stairs?



I must say I found a lot of interesting things to photograph on the way up.  There’s  so much more time to look around when you’re trying to catch your breath and calm a pounding heart.

Fern Unfurling


More Stairs!


We did eventually make it back to civilization and a bathroom, but we carried a special bit of soreness to remind us of the falls the next day.


4 thoughts on “Arataki Visitor Center & Fairy Falls

  1. What an entertaining read! Have you tried one of the more gentler walks to the dam on the Piha road? There is also the rain forest train that is quite a lovely journey.

  2. Joanne Lee says:

    Beautiful scenery and experience. You must really be getting very fit!

  3. Lil says:

    Looks beautiful. And, you’re looking good, Cara!

  4. gpcox says:

    Amazing and exotic, wonderful photos.

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