Omanawa Falls Development Project update
Construction of the carpark and track is underway and it is hoped that the site will become open to the public before the end of the year. Cliff stabilisation and construction of the track is at least 50% complete. Works on the carpark started at the beginning of March and are likely to be completed in Spring. Access to Omanawa Falls will remain closed while the site is under construction.
We are committed to opening the Omanawa Falls but only when it is safe to do so, and with full consideration given to the historical, cultural and environmental significance of this site.
Until this time, please do not visit this location as there is no public access. As an alternative, Kaiate Falls are a short drive away.
Visitor information for Bay of Plenty waterfalls (3.9mb pdf)
No public access
Despite being closed, some people have continued to visit the falls. Over the years a number of people have seriously injured themselves while trying to reach the waterfall or have had to be rescued after becoming trapped in the basin. Sadly, there has also been two fatalities.
To ensure people are aware of the dangers, the closure is clearly signposted. Ngāti Hangarau kaitiaki are also based on site to advise people of the dangers involved and to educate them around the cultural significance of the falls.
The Omanawa Falls area is in the rohe of Ngāti Hangarau and is of special cultural significance.
For this reason, Tauranga City Council is partnering directly with Ngāti Hangarau on the design and development of this site.
To reopen the Omanawa Falls, as has been directed by Council, we will need to create safe access.
A few factors make this location challenging to work within.
This area is of natural, historical and cultural interest, and has significant ecological status. The falls themselves have steep cliffs, which have high levels of instability.
This means creating safe access will be challenging.
Since establishing a project group with Ngāti Hangarau and Tourism Bay of Plenty in 2019, a design for the area has been developed.
Features of the co-design include a viewing platform, upgraded track, as well as supporting infrastructure such as carparking and public toilets.
An increased understanding of the cultural significance of this area is seen as another key benefit of the project.
Tauranga City Council has invested $4.566 million on the project since 2018. This includes the purchase of 1031 Omanawa Road, investigation, design, consenting and construction since August 2022.
Tauranga City Council has received $1m from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
Council has recently approved an additional $1.333million to undertake additional cliff stabilisation, which will bring the total budget to $9.56 million.
The project partners are seeking additional third-party funds to deliver this project to relieve the burden on ratepayers.