Gollum’s Pool

Gollum’s Pool

Gollum’s Pool (also known as Tawhai Falls)  is an iconic waterfall in Tongariro National Park. It is a part of the set in Lord of the Rings as the forbidden pool in which Frodo and Faramir capture Gollum. The walk to the waterfall is very short and is an ideal way to stretch your legs and get some fresh air if you’ve spent the day travelling to reach National Park. It’s a great spot to visit either before or after dinner. The walk is pretty well-formed, you should only need a pair of sneakers or slides to reach the waterfall. Over the winter months, the temperature plummets so ensure to pack extra warm clothes for the walk. As soon as the sun goes down it becomes extremely cold in the area.


15 min


10 min





@9nth (Josh Davey) getting a snap of the Gollum’s Pool from the iPhone whilst @bennymabazza snaps from the top of the frame

39°10′23″S 175°30′53″E

In Detail

Gollum’s Pool or the forbidden pool as it was filmed in the Lord of the Rings was a part of the second instalment in the Lord of the Rings: Two Tours. It was in this scene that Faramir and Frodo Baggins found capturing Gollum. It’s a great walk for any Lord of the Rings enthusiast to do. At the top of the waterfall, there is a small lookout over the waterfall. The path continues on down to the bottom of the river from the small lookout. Scramble around the rocks to get a better view of the waterfall. Take care, especially in the wintertime when some of the rocks can be slippery.

Gollum's Pool from water level
An angle of Gollum’s Pool that resembles a closer distinction of what the scene looked like in the movie

Getting There

 From National Park, the drive to the start of the walk to Tawhai Falls or Gollum’s Pool is pretty straight forward. From National Park follow State Highway 4 (SH4) south until you reach State Highway 47 (SH47) shortly after you drive along the highway prepare to turn right onto State Highway 48 (SH48). It’s not long before you will reach Gollum’s Pool which should be just on your left. There is a small car park with a DOC sign with Tawhai Falls on it, just off the highway.



Tawhai Falls Walk

The walk to Tawhai Falls begins right from the car park just off State Highway 48 (SH48) and you’ll find a gravel car park. The walk begins through the beech forest and has been graded smooth making it really easy to walk across. It’s not long before there are a number of steps to follow that lead right the way down to the waterfalls.

DOC Tawhai Falls Walking track sign
Top: The Department of Conservation sign at the start of the walk into the
Middle Left:
Looking out over the surrounding area of the sun setting in the distance
Middle Right:
Some patches of the walk were quite icy during the wintertime where the shade lies
: @bennymabazza making his way down the walking track towards Gollum’s Pool

Part way down the walk there is a small viewing point out over the top of Gollum’s Pool, giving you a view from the top of the waterfall down to the bottom of the waterfall. There has been a wooden barrier constructed around the viewing point to discourage people from reaching the river at the top for the purposes of health and safety. If you would like to reach the river, the track continues on from the viewing point down to the river where you get the best views of Gollum’s Pool.

Looking up towards Gollum's Pool from the end of the walking track
Top Left: Crossing a small bridge along the way down the walking track to Gollum’s Pool
Top Right:
Heading down the final few steps towards the riverbed leading to Gollum’s Pool
@9nth Josh Davey takes the first look down the stream to Gollum’s Pool

Gollum’s Pool (Tawhai Falls)

From the end of the track, you finally can get the best picture that many people know as Gollum’s Pool. There is a little bit of a scramble to get to a really good viewing point of the waterfall. If you’re keen enough you can scramble right your way around until you’re almost touching the waterfalls. Unfortunately, the falls don’t quite jut out far enough to get right in behind them. Take care as you hop around the rocks, they can be quite slippery. Especially in the wintertime, there can be black ice and the moss growing around the rocks can be quite slippery.

Gollum's Pool as scene from close to the end of the walking track
Gollum's pool from a similar point of view portrayed in the Lord of the Rings
Gollum's Pool as seen through the camera of an iPhone
Top: Clambering to the top of the last outcrop before the falls @9nth steadies himself
Middle Left:
@9nth getting those snaps on the workhorse camera
Middle Centre:
The boys all photographing the view of the falls
Middle Right:
Looking at Gollum’s pool from Frodo’s view in the movie
Josh snapping a phone from his iPhone of the falls