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Popular waterfall is open for summer, but be wary of cyclone damage, council says

Author
Hawkes Bay Today,
Publish Date
Sun, 10 Dec 2023, 2:36PM

Popular waterfall is open for summer, but be wary of cyclone damage, council says

Author
Hawkes Bay Today,
Publish Date
Sun, 10 Dec 2023, 2:36PM

Those wanting to take a dip in the much-loved Maraetotara Falls in rural Hawke’s Bay this summer will be able to, despite damage during Cyclone Gabrielle.

The falls are partially open as of December. The Hastings District Council says the toilets and car park are available, and the waterfall is accessible, however, the trail along the stream is washed out or blocked in some places.

The swimming hole is just a 15-minute drive outside Havelock North and 40 minutes from Napier. Following a 10-minute walk from the car park through native bush, you arrive at the 15m tiered waterfall.

The large swimming hole is a great place to cool off from the summer heat, a favourite among locals.

On May 17, 1922, the Havelock North Borough Council constructed a dam atop the falls creating the historic Havelock North hydro-electric power station.

The station featured a 180cm-high dam, 0.91m diameter concrete pipe serving as a penstock, and 250bhp split wheel spiral case turbine.

Tayna Tihore escaping the heat at Maraetotara Falls, south of Hastings. Photo / Paul Taylor
Tayna Tihore escaping the heat at Maraetotara Falls, south of Hastings. Photo / Paul Taylor

Enduring the 1931 earthquake, the hydro-electric scheme continued to 1941 until an electrifying encounter with lightning silenced its generator.

Heading downstream, a 15-minute walk past limestone formations will take you to the historic turbine house and concrete surge tower.

Wandering along these tracks, often you will see kererū.

Be wary of the trails by the stream this summer as they are not continuous due to the cyclone damage.


Hawke’s Bay Today is running a series of articles called ‘Can I go to...’ to help people decide if they should go to popular summer spots after the cyclone. If you have a place you would like to be featured, email us at [email protected]

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