McLaren Falls Park: A Hidden Gem in Tauranga

What activities are available at McLaren Falls Park in Tauranga, New Zealand?

McLaren Falls Park in Tauranga, New Zealand, offers a range of activities such as hiking, picnicking, swimming, fishing, kayaking, and enjoying the scenic beauty of waterfalls and wildlife.


The park is a hidden gem nestled near the city of Tauranga, New Zealand. Situated on 190 hectares of parkland alongside Lake McLaren and the Wairoa River, this park is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Located just off Highway 29, it is an easy 20-minute drive from Tauranga. McLaren Falls Park offers a wide range of attractions and activities that will captivate visitors of all ages, including bush walks through its stunning botanical collection of trees.

Waterfall at Mc Laren Falls Park in long exposure


  • One of the park's highlights is the picturesque waterfall track, where visitors can spot glow worms at night and marvel at the beauty of the waterfalls during the day.
  • Disc golf enthusiasts can also enjoy a round of disc golf at the park's 18-basket disc golf course.
  • Lake McLaren is another stunning feature of the park, offering opportunities for kayaking and enjoying the scenic beauty of the surrounding area.
  • The park is family-friendly and offers activities for people of all ages, including hiking trails, picnicking areas, and visits to the nearby Marshalls Animal Park.

A Tauranga Favourite

Managed by the Tauranga City Council, McLaren Falls Park is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. The park showcases the natural beauty of New Zealand's North Island, with its rolling hills, lush greenery, and stunning lake. Whether you're looking for a peaceful retreat or an adventure-filled outing, McLaren Falls Park has something for everyone, including an equestrian area for horse riding and the rest of the park for other activities. Additionally, the park is home to the Kaimai Hydroelectric Power Scheme, run by Manawa Energy, which provides great white water for recreational kayakers and rafters by regularly releasing water from McLaren Falls dam during warm months. For a better understanding of the park's layout and amenities, be sure to check out the site map provided by the Tauranga City Council, available on their website by clicking here.

Exploring the Waterfalls

The waterfall track at McLaren Falls Park is a true hidden gem. As you wander along the track, you will be treated to breathtaking views of picturesque waterfalls cascading down into crystal-clear pools. Here are some key highlights of exploring the waterfalls at McLaren Falls Park:

  • Marvel at the beauty of the waterfalls as they create a mesmerizing display of flowing water.
  • Take in the serenity of the surroundings and find peace in the tranquil atmosphere.
  • Capture stunning photographs of the waterfalls.
  • Learn about the fascinating history of the McLaren Falls Dam and its importance in the region.
  • Enjoy a leisurely walk along the track and immerse yourself in nature's beauty.


Night-time Glow Worm Kayak Tours

For a unique and enchanting experience, consider taking a night-time glow worm kayak tour at McLaren Falls Park. As the sun sets and darkness falls, the park's lake comes alive with thousands of twinkling glow worms. Here are a few things to know about this magical experience:

  • Join a guided tour that will take you on a peaceful kayak journey through the lake, allowing you to get up close to the glow worms.
  • Witness the luminescent beauty of the glow worms as they light up the darkness, creating a surreal atmosphere.
  • Learn about the life cycle and behavior of these fascinating creatures from knowledgeable guides.
  • Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the lake at night and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
  • Don't forget to bring a camera to capture the mesmerizing glow worm display and create memories that will last a lifetime.
  • For more information on the glow worm kayak tours, click here.

Family-Friendly Activities at Marshalls Animal Park

Located near McLaren Falls Park, Marshalls Animal Park is a great addition to your visit. This family-friendly attraction offers a chance to get up close and personal with a variety of domestic and exotic animals. Here are some key highlights of visiting Marshalls Animal Park:

  • Meet friendly farm animals such as sheep, cows, and goats, and learn about their care and feeding.
  • Get a glimpse of exotic animals like llamas and alpacas, and discover interesting facts about them.
  • Enjoy interactive experiences, such as petting and feeding the animals, ensuring a memorable visit for both kids and adults.
  • Learn about conservation efforts and the importance of protecting animals in their natural habitats.
  • Take part in educational activities and demonstrations that promote a deeper understanding of the animal kingdom.
  • For more information, visit the Marshalls Animal Park website by clicking here.

Disc Golf Course Details

Disc golf enthusiasts will be delighted to know that McLaren Falls Park is home to an 18-basket disc golf course. Here are some key details about the disc golf course at McLaren Falls Park:

| Number of Baskets | 18 |

| Course Difficulty | Beginner to Intermediate |

| Disc Golf Equipment | Available for purchase at sports shops or bring your own |

| Course Location | Follow the signs from the front gate to the beginning of the course at Pin Oak Flats |

Whether you're a seasoned disc golfer or new to the sport, the disc golf course at McLaren Falls Park offers a fun and challenging experience for players of all skill levels. Grab your discs and get ready to enjoy a round of disc golf amidst the beautiful surroundings of the park.

For more details, click here.


Nature and Wildlife

McLaren Falls Park is not only a haven for outdoor enthusiasts but also a treasure trove of flora and fauna. From native trees to diverse bird species, the park offers a rich and vibrant ecosystem for visitors to explore. Here are some highlights of the nature and wildlife at McLaren Falls Park:

  • Discover the park's botanical collections of trees, which showcase the diverse flora of the region.
  • Engage in bird watching and spot a variety of native bird species, including herons and ducks.
  • Take a moment to appreciate the natural beauty of the surroundings and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.


Bird Watching Opportunities

McLaren Falls Park offers excellent bird watching opportunities, allowing visitors to observe a variety of native bird species in their natural habitat. Here are some reasons why McLaren Falls Park is a great destination for bird watching:

  • The park's location in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island provides a diverse ecosystem that attracts a wide range of bird species.
  • Take a peaceful walk along the walking tracks and keep an eye out for native birds such as tuis, fantails, and herons.
  • Bring along a pair of binoculars and a field guide to enhance your bird watching experience and identify different species.
  • Capture stunning photographs of the birds in their natural surroundings to create lasting memories of your visit.
  • Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the park and enjoy the beauty of nature as you observe the fascinating behavior of the birds.


Planning Your Visit

Planning a visit to McLaren Falls Park? Here are some key details to ensure you have a memorable day out:


Park Amenities and Facilities

McLaren Falls Park offers a range of amenities and facilities to enhance your visit. Here are some of the amenities available:

  • Car parks: The park provides ample parking spaces for visitors, ensuring easy access to the various attractions and facilities.
  • Picnic areas: Designated picnic areas are scattered throughout the park, providing the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely meal surrounded by nature.
  • Facilities: The park offers public toilets, a cafe near the information center, and push-button gas barbecues for visitors to use.
  • Camping: Camping is available at designated areas within the park, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of the surroundings.


Special Events and Weddings

McLaren Falls Park is not only a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts but also a sought-after venue for special events and weddings. The park's picturesque setting and range of facilities make it an ideal choice for hosting memorable events. Whether you're planning a wedding, a corporate event, or a family gathering, McLaren Falls Park offers a stunning backdrop and all the amenities you need to ensure a successful and memorable occasion.


Hosting Events at McLaren Falls Park

McLaren Falls Park offers a unique and picturesque setting for hosting special events. Whether you're planning a wedding, a birthday party, or a corporate event, the park provides a range of facilities and amenities to ensure a memorable occasion. Here are some highlights of hosting events at McLaren Falls Park:

  • Choose from three great locations within the park for your event, each offering a different capacity to accommodate your guests.
  • Enjoy the beautiful surroundings and capture stunning photographs to commemorate your special day.
  • Make use of the park's facilities, including picnic areas and barbecue facilities, to enhance your event experience.
  • Benefit from the park's easy vehicle access and ample parking spaces for the convenience of your guests.
  • Create lasting memories by hosting your special event amidst the natural beauty of McLaren Falls Park.


Wedding Venues and Services

McLaren Falls Park offers a range of wedding venues and services to make your special day truly unforgettable. Here are some highlights of planning your dream wedding at McLaren Falls Park:

  • Choose from three stunning locations within the park, each offering a unique backdrop for your wedding ceremony.
  • Exchange your vows in the presence of family and friends against the backdrop of a picturesque waterfall or lush greenery.
  • Capture timeless photographs that showcase the natural beauty of the park and preserve the memories of your special day.
  • Take advantage of the park's facilities and amenities to ensure a seamless and successful wedding celebration.
  • Benefit from the park's experienced staff and their commitment to making your wedding day a truly memorable experience.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Swim in McLaren Falls?

Swimming is allowed in McLaren Falls, but visitors are advised to exercise caution and follow safety guidelines. There are designated swimming areas in the park, and it is important to swim only in these designated areas for your safety. Adequate car parking and vehicle access are available near the swimming areas.