Mangapohue Natural Bridge is a highlight on the scenic drive from Waitomo Village to Marokopa. The 5 minute track to the left is pushchair-friendly and follows a boardwalk through an impressive limestone gorge that brings you underneath a natural bridge.
Mangapohue Natural Bridge Scenic Reserve is signposted on the right, 24 km west of Waitomo Caves. There’s a large parking area with picnic tables and toilets just over the bridge.
The first section to the twin bridge is flat and board walked with a bridge over the Mangapohue Stream. The gorge is impressive with wheelchair access to the lower viewing platform. From here there are steps to upper viewing platform.
Continuing, you cross a stile into farmland. It can be muddy and slippery as you pass limestone outcrops with fossilised oyster shells. Another stile leads back to the main track to complete the loop.
Most limestone in the area was deposted during the Oligocene geological period around 34-23 million years ago. Calcareous sandstones and mudstones were deposited in warmer climates and higher latitudes, eventually being compressed to form the karst limestones of today.
On the ceiling are these weird bio stalactites. Unlike usual hard calcareous non-biological deposits, these have been formed by mosses and algae feeding off the calcium rich waters, depositing the excess precipitate as they grown. They are known as epitrophic speleothems.
The fossilised oysters after the bridge are around 35 million years old and reached sizes of nearly a foot long! Would likely have been like eating your car tyre with a bit of salt.
North Island ▷ Waikato ▷ Waitomo
Showing 13 reviews of 16.
20Sept18. Brill little walk. Not sure if we saw oysters, prob didn’t know what to look for.
C J B
FREE. One of the few non-commercialised attractions in Waitomo area. 5 min boardwalk to stunning cavern, parking will be limited in warmer months. Rotten long drop, avoid. 20 min round trip to fossil rock if you can be bothered with soggy field. There also exists a free glow worm cave (Piripiri) a couple km drive west before falls.
Save up to 70% on campsite fees! Support conservation and experience the natural beauty of NZ. 74 Department of Conservation campsites, one convenient pass.
Natural bridge, once a cave, beautiful in the day or night, plenty of glowworms - magical.
Not what we expected - way bigger and pretty awesome! Go along the whole track, the stones outside are great as well. Only thing, that there are a lot of signs in front of the views.
Access savings worth hundreds of $$ on Top Ranked NZ Accommodation and Activities for just $1 per day.
Beautiful natural bridge/limestone gorge with an arch. One of my favourite spots. A short bush walk (well maintained track) takes you to this impressive formation - jaw dropping.
A very short walk to see a natural bridge. We walked it during the day and then came back at night to see the walks and ceiling covered in glowworms. No one else around and for free!
Incredible view at night, for free.
Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.
The natural bridge is interesting. The walk and the landscape view are very peaceful.
Another nice short walk to a real natural wonder. Only 30 minutes and good to combine with the waterfall and the glowworm cave.
W & K Boyd
This was impressive and it is well worth stopping off to visit. An easy walk from the carpark, and a great opportunity for photos. Best of all, there were no crowds - we only saw one other group of 4 that were leaving when we got there.
The natural bridge is totally cool! Empty, no tourists!
We had a great experience on this walk -- the rock formations are unique to this corner of the country, and since this landscape used to be underwater, you can see shells and marine fossils along the trail (they're marked, because you'd not likely find them on your own).
This was impressive. The bush walk to the feature is beautiful and is wheelchair accessible. Once there, standing beneath this great slab of overhanging limestone, good DOC standard wooden staircase takes you higher up to a lookout, then a rougher and, muddy on our visit, track loops back to the start. There's a good long-drop toilet and picnic tables near the carpark. Impressive, accessible and FREE - an unconditional 10/10.
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 😍