Flowing through the Okere Falls Scenic Reserve, which is rich in resources, the Kaituna River has been highly valued by the people of the area for centuries. Innumerable battles have been fought on its shores to guard the important food sources in the water. It is the traditional river of Ngati Pikiao, who have made their home here for many years. In 1984, the Waitangi Tribunal confirmed Ngati Pikiao as the traditional owners of the river. The river name 'Kaituna' (kai = food, tuna = eels) reveals much about its significance as a food source. Below the four main waterfalls are numerous large eel holes. Further down the river, whitebait were caught in great numbers, Koura (freshwater crayfish) were another local delicacy.
Okere Falls Scenic Reserve is located 21 km from Rotorua on Trout Pool road off SH 33 (the Rotorua to Tauranga highway). Okere Falls Scenic Reserve is located on the banks of the Kaituna river draining out of Lake Rotoiti.
Drive out of Rotorua on SH 30 towards Whakatane or the Airport. At turn off go straight ahead on SH 33 towards Tauranga. Trout Pool road is on the left after 8km.
Fishing is popular below the waterfalls. Kayaking for the very experienced only. Rafting can be experienced through a variety of commercial companies.
Dangerously strong currents and waterfalls. Please keep to the track.
Plan & Prepare
You need to be well prepared when walking on conservation land, especially on longer day walks. Ensure you have strong, comfortable boots, warm clothing, a good raincoat, first aid kit, food and drink, a hat and sunscreen. It is also advisable to leave your intentions with a responsible person.