Kitekite Falls

Kitekite Falls

Kitekite falls is a classic Auckland waterfall that is well-known amongst locals and a classic in the travel guide for Auckland.  Kitekite Falls is a part of the known 4-day Hillary Trail that works it way from the southern-most reaches of the Waitakere Ranges right through to Muriwai.  Unfortunately, large sections of the trail remain closed due to Kauri dieback in throughout the Waitakere Ranges including tracks beyond Kitekite Falls.  Kitekite Falls is only a 30 minute long return journey and manageable in flip-flops.  It’s a great post-beach wander after a little too much time in the sun.  A great way to cool off under the trees and in the chilled water.  At the head of the falls, you’ll find a couple of infinity pools that make for a great cool off swim in the hot summer’s sun.


45 min


3.75 km


189 m



Nathan (the Author) enjoying the cold water immersion in one of the upper pools of Kitekite Falls

36°57′39″S 174°29′25″E

In Detail

Kitekite Falls is also known for being an accessible canyoning route leading down Glen Esk Stream.  An epic abseil over the falls will drop you down to, yet another pool followed by the main falls.  At head of the falls are a couple of infinity pools at the upper falls that can be accessed without any specialist equipment.  Each pool is deep enough to cover your entire body and wide enough for three or four mates to sprawl out and cover themselves wide.  Extending out your walk, when there is a small loop that you can create around the lower falls that offers beautiful views along the way.  Unfortunately, at this time, tracks further beyond the falls linking the Hillary Trail are closed due to Kauri dieback.  You can see the full map of tracks that are open, closed and closed indefinitely here.

A couple of young lads checking out the lower Kitekite Falls and taking a few photos

Getting to Kitekite Falls

To reach Kitekite Falls you will follow the roads to each Piha before following the road where you would usually go right, inland.  There are several different routes that take you to Piha depending on which direction you are coming from to reach the Waitakere Ranges. All of them will however end with you taking Piha Road to reach Piha Beach and further on to Kitekite Falls. There are no other roads that will allow you to reach the beach. If you are coming from Northern Auckland, you will likely take Route 13 (Forest Hill Road), central Auckland you will take West Coast Road and Route 24 (Scenic Drive) if you are coming from South Auckland. Time taken to reach Kitekite falls is highly dependent on traffic.

Kitekite Track

The Kitekite falls track is an easy to follow, well maintained track that leads right through the forest alongside a small stream.  There is another trail which runs directly parallel to the Kitekite Falls track called the Byers Walk that is now marked as open providing an alternative path alongside Glen Esk Stream.  At the base of Kitekite falls the track crosses with the Knutzen Track which makes a loop back around to the Kitekite track and is well worth exploring for some variety.  It is well worth following the connect track from the Kitekite track up to the head of Kitekite Falls to discover the swimming holes up at the top.  Beyond the head of the falls, the Winstone Track and Kauri Grove Tracks remain closed due to Kauri Dieback disease. 
GPX file download for Kitekite Falls

Waitakere Ranges Weather

Weather in the Waitakere Ranges and Auckland is often variable throughout the day. Rain and wind are expected, but also commonly found are blue skies and a wicked sunset.  If you’re walking take a showerproof raincoat along with you and some water, it never hurts to stay prepared. As far as bush walks go, however, this is a short one and you’d be hard-pressed to get lost even if the entire place was blanketed in fog.  Ensure you pack in a warm layer in case the wind rises in the rain, chilling you to the bone.  Trust me – you’ll thank me later

Kitekite Track to Falls

Kitkite track is an easy-to-follow track that features birdlife, boardwalks, and plenty of greenery.  On a glum day the greenery is highlighted against the mundane sky.  As with all other forest trails in the Waitakere Ranges, you’ll need to ensure that you clean your footwear.  Be aware that the trail can get slightly sticky due to mud after periods of rain.  Best not to wear your box fresh sneakers along the trail, but you’ll be able to get away with a pair of slides.

Top Left: A wood pigeon up in a tree just hanging out along the KitekiteTrack
Top Right: The Kitekite Track signage at the start of the walk pointing in the direction of the falls
Bottom left:
A Hillary Trail marker early along the walk
Bottom Right:
Trail surroundings shown in their best light along the way through to Kitekite Falls

Lower Kitekite Falls

Lower Kitekite Falls are the most well-known falls that are seen in the highlights, brochures and whenever you do a quick google search for Kitekite Falls.  They’re certainly beautiful to admire and don’t take too long to reach.  If you follow the trail across the outlet of the waterfall, you’ll find a romantic bench seat to sit with your date and admire the falls from.  The trail to and from the falls climbs and descends a couple sections wrapping around through the forested hills even with a couple of rock-hopping challenges.  Reaching the lower falls takes approximately 15 minutes from the carpark.

Anti-clockwise from Top:
Lower Kitekite Falls after some rain with good flow throughout
Jono with his strapped up leg taking on a small stream crossing along the track
Blowing some steam and aching a little Jono making his way up the track with his injured right leg
Looking down the final few meters of trail before reaching the lower Kitekite Falls

Upper Kitekite Falls

Backtracking along the Nor-Western trail leading to Lower Kitekite Falls a further trail leads up to the head of the waterfall.  Although the views only look over the forested area, further along the stream are a couple of infinity pools that sit right over the first tier of Kitekite Falls.  Below these pools sit yet another larger pool that can only be reached safely by abseiling down to the pool.  Permanent canyoning bolts have been fixed to allow people to reach these pools.  From the lower Kitekite Falls it only takes a further 10 minutes to reach the pools.  As mentioned earlier all other tracks beyond here are closed due to kauri dieback.

Clockwise from Top:
Jono stretching his arms out wide over the outlet of the upper pools
Looking down upon a second pools that can be reached by abseiling (also known as canyoning) with the right equipment
Nathan (the Author) getting a good stretch going on amongst the pool that leads down
Jono giving a strong flex for the win in the upper pool surviving the cold water treatment on a moody day

Return Journey

The return journey is rather quick.  After drying off from a dip in the pools, clambering out alongside the true left (left looking down the river as it flows).  Followed by yet another rock-hop across to the track you’ll be well on your way along the track and back to the carpark.  Descend all the way back down the track, and as Jono and I did cross over the waterfall again and follow the loop track round. Even try out a figure eight walk by returning via the Byers Walk back to the carpark.

Top Left: Walking back alongside Glen Esk Stream at the head of Kitekite Falls
Top Right:
Jono navigating his way across Glen Esk Stream where the track crosses
Jono meeting Ed on the trail marker. The Kitekite Falls track making up part of Section 4 of the Hillary Trail

Kitekite Falls Crew

Yet another weekend back-to-back with Jono (Big Chungus) who came out for a bit of therapy for a bit of Wellvember treatment.  Although ‘twas short ‘twas a very therapeutic time spent in the bush discovering nature and getting amongst a cold session in the infinity pools.  Great afternoon adventure followed by beer and a curry.  Not too shabby.

Jono making his way down the upper stairs back down towards the car park