The Omanawa Falls tumble into a sizeable plunge pool at the head of the gorge the Omanwa River has steadily carved. Heed the warning signs about swimming here. People die.
From S.H.29 between Tauriko and Lower Kaimai, turn south into Omanawa Road. Follow it 10.7km to a signposted parking area on the left.
The track starts through the gate.
The walk follows an old vehicle track for 10 minutes. It can be slippery where the rock surface is exposed, wet, or covered in forest litter.
It then passes through a cutting and sidles a ledge cut into the rock face above Omanwa Falls and River.
You can only view the falls from above, as the track ends at a locked metal door into the old power station.
The Omanawa Falls hydro-electric power station was planned in 1915 and was named after the pioneering engineer/salesman, Lloyd Mandeno, who was given the task of persuading the public of the benefits of electric power before construction could begin. The 150 kilowatt power station was enlarged in the early 1920s.
Lloyd Mandeno was responsible for converting the lives of Tauranga wives. They were relieved of the tiredness and household drudgery by the ‘latest perfection in [electric] household appliances’. Advertisements told the gentlemen that if they cared for their wives ie converted to electricity, they would have a more comfortable home and a happier wife.
North Island ▷ Bay of Plenty ▷ Tauranga
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Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍