Omanawa Falls. Dangerous, but oh so stunning!
New Zealand is beautiful - there are no doubts. And even with wonderful landscapes, amazing waterfalls, high mountains and breathtaking coastlines there still are some "hidden gems". By hidden I mean - people know about them, but it is hard to reach them or they are closed because of the danger. Omanawa Falls is one of those places. It used to be open, but since a man drowned here in April 2018 it is even more forbidden to go down there. Yes, you can access the viewing point just 10-minute walk away from a parking place (you have to park on the street because there is no designated parking area), but it wasn't enough for us.
If this is good enough for you - perfect! For us, this view was even more motivating to get as close to it as possible. Because there is a small power station down at the water level, there is no public access down to the falls. But fortunately for us, one of us knew the way down. If I want to be entirely precise - way up and then down.
Insane, crazy and steep - these are the words that perfectly describe the "trail" down to the fall. Mostly I felt like a monkey, working my way down the hill using all four extremities.
If you planning to do that definitely wear work gloves to protect your hands. This trail would be crazy difficult for one person as we had to help each other in some most difficult places. Also if something goes wrong it is so much safer that you have someone who can help or at least call someone to save you from dangerous situations. You should not attempt to find your way down to the falls unless you are with someone who knows the way. The terrain is incredibly steep and slippery and there is no formed track.
Because of travelers like me, this place getting more and more popular. Omanawa Falls internet fame spreads across the world and as much as I shouldn't encourage anyone to even try to get down, I still going to share my experience.
Getting down was really hard, but so rewarding. The waterfall is even more gorgeous up close. The pool is in magic emerald color and the place is so lonely and peaceful.
We were lucky because of the rain in previous days - waterfall was quite strong and distinct.
Two of our friends decided to get into the cave behind it, despite the freezing water and a stream. As the waterfall is so low, lacking sunlight makes the water very cold even on sunny summer days (also it is one of the main reasons a guy drowned there).
This place is magical, spectacular and breathtaking, but really - if in doubt, just enjoy the view from the public viewing area above. It’s not worth risking your life to get down to the fall by any means.