A pleasant drive to 900m above sea level on Taranaki Maunga/Mount Taranaki's south-eastern slopes brings you to the Dawson Falls road-end. This is the starting point for many walks on this side of the mountain. The Kapuni Loop track meanders its way down the right bank of the Kapuni River where alpine plant species can be found out of their vegetation zone due to water- and wind-borne seed distribution. Witness the river carving its way down the ancient lava flows to Dawson Falls/Te Rere o Noke.

Make your way to your starting point via montane forest dominated by kāmahi and tōtara. The walk starts to the left of Manaia Road below the Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge. 

Key points of interest:

  • A two-minute return walk to the power station is a worthwhile detour. Listen to the Kapuni Stream as it drives one of world’s oldest continually operating generators at the power station. It supplies the power nearby for the Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge.
  • Follow the southern bank of the Kapuni Stream through mountain rainforest to the top of picturesque Dawson Falls/Te Rere o Noke.
  • A steep side-track leads down to the base of the waterfall, but a railed viewing point on the main track provides the best overall view. Look for the layers of lava, pumice, gravel, and ash in the bluffs flanking the waterfall.
  • Once you have crossed the road, enter a forest of fuchsia, kōtukutuku and fern.
  • A clearing below Konini Lodge returns you to a path up to your starting point.

Exercise caution when walking in the vicinity of the road and near the waterway. 

For further information contact New Plymouth, Stratford or South Taranaki i-SITE Visitor Centre, or view the downloadable brochures from our website.