Total duration (RT): 6h
Total distance (RT): 8.2km
Positive elevation: 400m
Large track to go up the river then fairly well marked path.
Numerous fords not always easy, watch out for the weather.
Steep sections with ropes to access the twin waterfalls and the final 180m waterfall.
The start of the hike is in Hitia'a, approximately at PK37.5.
Take the track that starts on the mountain side, just in front of the Sacré Coeur church.
After a little less than 2km on the track, park the car just before the ford.
Cross the river, then follow the track that goes up the Mahateaho river to the right. The track passes through the middle of a culture of flowers. Admire (without touching) the birds of paradise flowers, ginger flowers and other floral species.
After 1km, you come to a new ford. Then another 700m further. Continue to follow the track with the river on your left, until you find a path.
Follow the path, and find the river 300m further on. Walk along the bank for a few meters, then cross to reach a path in a bamboo grove. Double river crossing 100m further.
Go up the river to the left along the rocks. You will find a path that crosses a bamboo grove a little further.
Cross again after the bamboo grove, where a huge rock stands on the opposite bank. Go around the rock to the right and find a path. About 100m further, you arrive at the fork of the river.
Cross the two branches of the river to find the path that goes up the left branch. Follow the path to arrive at the Tapatea waterfall. This first, very impressive waterfall is at the bottom of a small canyon. You will have to go swimming and go inside the canyon to approach.
The trail continues to the left, with a steep portion equipped with a few ropes. You will find two new waterfalls. Pass below them. First big ascent with ropes, at the end of which you arrive at a magnificent point of view on the twin waterfalls and the 180m waterfall.
Use the ropes to descend by the very steep path which is on your right. After less than 100m, you find the river. Cross and go up the river to admire the twin waterfalls. A path leads to the basin, very suitable for swimming under the waterfalls.
To access the top of the twin waterfalls, a path climbs just next to a large slab in the river, that you will find by going back on your steps a little bit. Very steep and potentially slippery climb to the top. Continue to follow the path which now descends towards the river.
You finally arrive at the top of the twin waterfalls. Incredible view over the river below, and possibility of swimming, without getting too close to the edge.
Go up the river, then cross to find a path that goes along on the left. You finally arrive at the majestic 180m waterfall that stands in front of you. The path leads to the basin where it is possible to swim and even go behind the waterfall.