The Bridal Veil Falls New Zealand is one of the most enchanting waterfalls in the country. The 55m drop, surrounded by lush vegetation, can be admired from various angles via a short easy walk (and lots of steps). Below is my guide to visit the Bridal Veil Falls NZ also known as the Raglan waterfall.
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Why visit Bridal Veil Falls New Zealand?
Many countries have named a waterfall Bridal Veil because of how the flow of water looks.
The Raglan waterfall is not the most impressive of them all, but it is worth the walk to admire from above and below. It is one of the most picturesque landscapes in New Zealand.
See how enchanting the area looks:
Bridal Veil Falls NZ Facts & geology
- It is a 55m (180ft) single drop of water
- The Maori refer to is as Waireinga
- Located on the Pakoka River in the Waikato region
- The drop has eroded the ground and created a large pool at its base
- It cascades over a basalt cliffs created by volcanic activity around 2 and a half million years ago.
Raglan waterfall in Video
And below is a short video of the walk with the different views of this waterfall near Raglan:
Planning Tips - Bridal Veil Falls NZ
Bridal Veil Falls Location
- North Island (See my top 25 things to do) - West Coast, South of Auckland
- Near the surf town of Raglan
- Auckland to Raglan = 2h drive
- Rotorua to Raglan = 2h drive
- Hamilton to Raglan = 40min drive
Be overwhelm by the beauty, not the planning!
Bridal Veil falls is included in my eBooks, to help you plan an unforgettable road trip:
- 12 easy-to-plan Maps
- 200 scenic locations in NZ
- Tips to plan + make the most of your time
- 285+ large photos to decide where to go
- GPS coordinates direct to the carparks
How to get to Bridal Veil Falls Raglan
- You absolutely need a car to get to the waterfall - there are no bus or tours
- Raglan to Bridal veil falls - 20min drive
- Easy road with hardly any traffic
- There is a clearly indicated carpark near the beginning of the walk
Visiting the Raglan Falls
- A clear path has been set up to access the waterfall
- Toilets and picnic tables at the beginning of the walk
- No other facilities
- Flat path to the top of the falls with great views
- 261 steps down to the base to see it from different angles
- Plan 45 min for the whole visit
- Free access
- No swimming, no rock climbing
Where to stay
- Raglan is really a great place to stay for a night to admire the sunset and soak in the peaceful vibe.
- Check out the best rated accommodations in Raglan
Planning to rent a car in New Zealand? Check out the local company Snap Rentals
I selected it myself and paid my rental in full (the red car you see above)
- They are not at the airport itself, but they come to pick you up and drop you off
- They were very nice and responsive, the car was in perfect condition.
- In addition, they have all-inclusive insurance packages with AAA roadside assistance, which means I didn't have to worry (I think it's worth the price)
Bridal Veil Falls track - first section
The walking track to Bridal Veil Falls NZ is easy and well maintained.
It starts with a walk under 10min through the forest.
Most of the Waikato coastal forest has been logged in the 19th and 20th century. But around the waterfall, you can still experience what it used to be.
If you look up, you can notice Nikau palms under the canopy of Tawa trees.
If you look down, you may spot wild orchids.
Along the way you will see a few indications about the geology, flora and fauna of the region. They are informative without being overwhelming. I recommend a read.
Bridal Veil Falls Raglan - Upper platforms
View from above
Once you get outside of the forest, head left to the first platform. It is listed as 'Top of the Falls viewpoint'.
It offers beautiful views of the Pakoka River valley.
And if you look below, you can see the rush of the water flowing over the basalt cliffs.
Take a moment to listen to the roaring!
View across - Upper viewing platform
Then you can walk towards the right and admire the delicate drop of water from a distance.
You can clearly see the basalt cliffs and the single 55m high drop of water.
The delicate shape is the reason behind the Bridal Veil name.
The Maori and Waireinga Leaping waters
The Maori people call this waterfall Waireinga which means "leaping waters".
It is also considered to be home of the Maori fairies (patupaiarehe) who are the guardians of the area. So keep your eyes open!
Bridal Veil Falls hike - Stairs
You can stop here and head back to the carpark, or you can keep hiking to reach the midway viewpoint and the bridge at the bottom of the falls.
However now it is not a easy track anymore but a series of staircases.
The steps are generally not too high and there is a handrail.
Plus they keep telling you how many stairs you have left... In total you will walk down 261 the stairs (and then you have to climb them up!)
Midway view point
To take a break on the way down or up, you can stop at the midway viewpoint.
You are closer to the flow of water and surrounded by the lush vegetation. It feels like an oasis.
Lower platform of the Raglan waterfall
After all the stairs, you reach a small bridge over the river.
From here you have an open view of the cliffs and the drop.
This is where you can can most appreciate the height of the waterfall.
Sometimes you can catch the reflection of the falls on the pool.
There is no swimming allowed as the quality of the water is not safe.
Aerial view of Bridal Falls Raglan
At the bridge, you can see an aerial pictures of the waterfall. This gives you a better idea of the forested landscapes and the basalt cliff.
Around 2 and a half million years ago, a small volcano erupted not far. The lava flowed along the river course, reached a valley and cooled down into a deep layer of hard rock over old sandstone.
The water cut a shallow path into the hard basalt rock until the edge of the flow. As it dropped down, it hit the softer sandstone and created the pool.
Want more? See my list of 21 best waterfalls in NZ
Raglan surf town
The Bridal Veil Falls are located near the surf town of Raglan.
It is a peaceful place to admire the sunset and spend the night.
You can either enjoy the little town, its quiet bay or the surfing beaches nearby:
Raglan is really a great place to stay for a night to admire the sunset and soak in the peaceful vibe - Check out the best rated accommodations in Raglan
Want to see more of NEW ZEALAND?
Picturesque, isn't it?
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