Upper Nihotupu Walk

Waitakere Ranges Regional Park

  • 1 hr 15 min one way
  • Easy

Easy walk along a service road to the Upper Nihotupu Reservoir in the Waitakere Ranges. Climb the face of the dam, walk a bush tramway, and admire some waterfalls.

Upper Nihotupu Walk: Key information
Walking time
1 hr 15 min
One way
One way
No bookings — open access
No — open access
Upper Nihotupu Walk: Find it
Signposted car park, Piha Road. Watch for the car park on left just over 1km from the Scenic Drive turn off.
Upper Nihotupu Reservoir.
190m – 300m
Altitude change 110m

The Upper Nihotupu Reservoir is one of five reservoirs in the Waitakere Ranges supplying water for the city of Auckland. An easy walk along a shingle service road, this walk is also open to bikes and suitable for strollers. Access to the shore of the reservoir is prohibited.

The car park is located just east of the service road gate on Piha Road. Over the Nihotupu Stream bridge, a wide, smooth track meanders through pretty forest before meeting the service road. A toilet is located at the corner. 

The road drops through forest beside the stream. In a few minutes, the stream runs through a half-metre rock channel and over a waterfall. On the far bank an old water race gate is still visible here. The road crosses a bridge with waterfalls on both sides before dropping quickly.

At the bottom of the drop, a side track leads to an impressive view of the thundering Nihotupu Waterfall that marks the head of the reservoir. The track levels out as it sidles along the flooded river valley, eventually coming to the dam and information shelter. 

The road continues on past the dam, leading to the Seaver Camp Picnic Area. There is a shelter here and toilet (behind the locked private ones). Follow the tramline past the locked House Tunnel, to the base of the dam. In the other direction, the tramline leads eastward through a series of tunnels, although you can't follow it from here. It is accessible again on the Incline Track and Exhibition Drive.

Steep concrete stairs lead up the face of the dam. If you have young children with you or are afraid of heights, this section is not for you! The stairs come out by the information shelter.

Walking times

  • Car park to Upper Nihotupu Dam Road: 10 minutes
  • Road junction to Nihotupu Falls: 15 minutes
  • Nihotupu Falls to Upper Nihotupu Dam: 20 minutes
  • Picnic area / tramway / face climb circuit: 30 minutes 
This track needs a photograph.
ID 15947

About this track

Added 28 December 2015 by matthewmatthew. 4 revisions, most recently 14 September 2017 by matthewmatthew.
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