A beautiful waterfall and swimming hole, and a absolute nightmare to find (or a fun adventure and workout depending on how you look at it) pretty much sums up a day trip to Omanawa Falls. A true locals spot because you have to know how to get there, it technically is not supposed to be accessible to the public and has no marked trail. The Tauranga council locked the one gate that leads down to the falls, but locals have created a footpath that lead up and around the gate and down to the foot of the waterfall. In the summer people take music and picnics down to make a day of it, the locked gate has not really deterred anyone from entering but it has created quite a dangerous situation if you do not know what your doing. Our local kiwi friend and flatmate Terry had visited the falls a week prior and had declared it the best waterfall she has ever seen, so we were pretty excited to go check it out. With some instructions from her we set off to go on a day adventure.
As soon as we got there, we made it about a 1/4 of the way before getting confused about what to do next. Luckily we ran into a group of Kiwis that had been there before and let us follow them the rest of the way. The trail climbs up a steep bank then rapidly descends into the valley. If you are scared of heights, it can be a bit daunting as you have to climb down two separate ladders placed by locals as well as abseil down a couple feet off a cliff with a rope. But the reward once you get down there is absolutely worth it as the swimming hole and waterfall is breathtaking.
Want to plan a day trip to Omanawa Falls? Best find a local and make friends, it would be a bad idea to attempt it by yourself.