Omanawa Falls is located in a secluded cove surrounded by lush green bushland. You can swim in the lake created by the 35-metre plunge waterfall, and even explore a cave behind the sheet of water.
Sadly, the spot is closed to the public. It’s been shut for years due to safety concerns and the fact that Tauranga City Council owns and operates a power station at the base of the falls.
Despite this, the site is attracting thousands of illegal visitors a year who are desperate to view the waterfall.
The route to the base of the falls is very dangerous, and involves climbing over fences, descending a vertical cliff face and scrambling down extremely steep paths.
While many manage the hike, there have been incidences of nasty accidents. Since 2013, four people have had to be airlifted to the nearest hospital from injuries sustained during their attempts to access the falls. One person has even been left paralysed.
The council is now considering spending $2.7m on an upgrade to make the falls safely accessible to curious travellers. As it’s a popular Instagram location, visitors are tempted by the unique photo opportunities it provides, keen to show their adventurous spirit by documenting their exploration of this hidden, dangerous location.
Here’s hoping that the falls open soon so everyone can enjoy them safely.
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