Bridal Veil Falls may be the most overused name for a waterfall, or at least famous ones. The highest falls in Colorado is the Bridal Veil Falls near Telluride. One of Yosemite National Park’s most famous falls is Bridal Veil Falls, only surpassed by Yosemite Falls itself. And about a 3 hour drive south of New Zealand’s capital city of Auckland is the 180′ Bridal Veil Falls.
While finding the parking area for the Bridal Veil Falls can be a bit tricky, the hike itself is a simple one. A short jaunt through the woods on a paved path that follows the slow meandering of the Pakoka River (more like a large creek) and you will find yourself on an overlook just to the right of the falls. As you walk through the dense woods taking in the placid river you would never think this water would soon be flung over a cliffs edge.
Once at the rim of the cliff the path Ts. If you take a left there is a platform that sits nearly on top of the falls giving you breathtaking views of the water as it goes careening over the cliff’s edge. Take a right at the junction and about another 10 minutes of descending steeply through the trees all the way down the complete 180′ drop and you will find yourself at the pool below the falls. This whole area is lush and stunningly green. Once at the pool’s edge there is a boardwalk where you can cross over the Pakoka River’s outlet on the edge of the pool. From here you can take in the beauty of this spectacular waterfall.
Finding the parking area:
Make your way to the town of Hamilton on the North Island of New Zealand. Once there head west on the mountainous highway 23 towards Ragland. About 35km outside of Hamilton you will turn left onto Kauroa-Kawhia Road. It is just past a wind farm that you can see on top of the hills on the left side of the highway. This road is a bit more narrow, but maintains the curvy mountainous nature of most New Zealand roads. About 13km later the Bridal Veil Falls parking area will be on your right. The parking area is very nice and has pit toilets a short distance from the lot.
If you find yourself on the North Island of New Zealand near the city of Hamilton and you like waterfalls or you want to bag every Bridal Veil Falls in the world then I highly recommend a stop here. The drive takes about an hour each way from Hamilton, but it is a gorgeous drive if you can handle the curvy roads. If you don’t like curvy roads you should really not plan on driving in New Zealand as there are very few straight roads outside of Auckland.