One of Whangārei's most popular tourist destinations is getting some upgrades as summer starts.

Each year, Otuihau (Whangārei Falls), is being enhanced with landscape development and improvements.

This month, Whangārei District Council contractors Robinson Asphalts will begin $227,424 of improvements due to be completed by the end of the year.

Footpaths and drains will be upgraded while new park furniture, garden beds and seating will also be installed.


A new set of concrete stairs will be constructed from the eastern end of the existing footbridge to the top of the bank.

While the work is going on, access from the car park to the base of the falls will be maintained, with only one side of the loop track closed at any given time.

This work follows a series of projects completed over the past few years at the site. Those include extending the car park, more planting, new paths and steps.

Earlier this year, mature trees were removed on the side of the waterfall opposite the car park to prepare for this season's work and to open up view shafts of the river, waterfall and reserve opposite.

Whangārei Falls is one of the locations monitored by the Summer Safe Carpark programme over the summer period.

The programme sees ambassadors monitor locations frequented by tourists and locals. The volunteers act as a deterrent to thieves while providing visitors with information about other tourist spots and i-Site locations, freedom camping, tsunami information, sunscreen and more.

Whangārei Falls, 26 metres high, is located in Whangārei Scenic Reserve. The classic curtain waterfall is part of the Hātea River and one of the most popular swimming spot in the area.

Traditionally the area was a good eeling spot for the local Māori and around the turn of the century it was known as a popular picnic spot from Whangārei.


In the late 1920s Archibald Clapham bought the property, reputedly to prevent the falls being developed as a commercial watermill. In 1946 a local businessmen's association raised the purchase price by public subscription and the property became a public domain.