While Egmont National Park in New Zealand is filled with challenging hikes, both Dawson Falls and Wilkies Pools are quick 1 hour walks for all ages. This makes these short trails perfect for families or travelers looking for a relaxing day in nature. Join us on the Wilkies Pools Loop Track, and our adventure to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of NZ!
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Getting to Dawson Falls Visitor Center
On the south side of Egmont National Park is a thin road that cuts into the Goblin Forest, and snakes its way to Dawson Falls Visitor Center. The national park is located an hour away from New Plymouth, and about two hours from Whanganui. On a clear day the drive with views of Mount Taranaki is almost as stunning as the hikes themselves!
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Dawson Falls Walk vs Wilkies Pools
Dawson Falls: Stroll 10 minutes down the main road and head onto the Dawson Falls path. Also, if you have the time there is a one hour loop from the Dawson Falls Visitor Center. This will take you through the forest for a short, but enjoyable hike.
Wilkies Pools: Small cascading pools of water sit under the incredible Mount Taranaki volcano. The path is flat with a steady incline, making it one of the more family friendly walks in Egmont National Park.
Both Hikes: We decided to do both hikes as they were not very difficult. In total, completing the two loops with photo stops took about two and a half hours. Both trails start and end at the Dawson Falls Visitor Center.
Easy Stroll to Wilkies Pools
The first thing we noticed as we started on our way to the Wilkies Pools was a small family with a stroller. It’s not often you see kids this young on a hiking trail so we knew it must not be too strenuous. The walk to the Wilkies Pools is a steady incline, but the path has been reinforced with a thick rubber walkway.
Once you get to the Wilkies Pools you’ll quickly see why they’re so popular. Small cascades of water drip down creating a plateaued waterfall. To the right of the stream you can carefully climb up the rocks for a better view from above.
Visiting in the winter we even had amazing views of the snowcapped Mount Taranaki! Although it’s not nearly as impressive as Dawson Falls, this part of the park still 100% worth seeing.
Wilkies Pools Loop Track
Ready for an adventure? After the easy walk to the Wilkies Pools in Egmont National Park you can choose to hike back to the Dawson Falls Visitor Center via the loop track.
Leaving the easy walking path behind, this fun trail will take you past small waterfalls and over a wide river. The 25 minute track eventually connects back to the easier one, but it’s a nice detour near Dawson Falls in New Zealand.
Dawson Falls Walk in Egmont National Park
Now onto the main attraction! There are two routes for getting to Dawson Falls in Egmont National Park. The first option is a short walk down the road that cuts directly to the Dawson Falls viewpoint entrance. Your second choice is the Dawson Falls Loop Track which is one hour long, and cuts directly through the forest.
The hike isn’t very hard compared to others in New Zealand. Still, it can be quite muddy after it rains so make sure to have proper footwear. If you have an hour the walk though the Goblin Forest is beautiful, and a fun way to see more of the National Park. Also, note that unlike the Wilkies Pools Loop Track, you won’t be getting a view of Mount Taranaki.
Steps Down to Dawson Falls New Zealand
While the sign says that there is both an upper view and lower view, realistically you have to make the quick climb to the base of the falls. The upper Dawson Falls view has been overrun with the growing forest. However, making the short stroll down the steps gives you uninterrupted views of of this amazing waterfall.
Make your way back up the steep steps to the track and it will bring you to the road. If you’re in a hurry you can stay on the road from here. Otherwise cross the street, and continue on the Dawson Falls Loop Track until you reach the visitors center.
Have any questions on Dawson Falls New Zealand or the Wilkies Pools Loop Track? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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Where To Stay In New Plymouth New Zealand
Ultra Luxury – King and Queen Hotel Suites – Located right in the town center, this high end hotel has everything you need for a stay in New Plymouth. Rooms are well equipped with modern amenities, and there are free bicycles and gym pass included in your stay.
Fun Vacation – Millennium Hotel New Plymouth, Waterfront – If you’re looking for a room with a view… Millennium has you covered! Both studios and suites are available with incredible views of the Tasman Sea.
Hostel Life – Ariki Backpackers – Fun and laid back hostel in the heart of New Plymouth. Ariki has a range of room options including privates and large mixed dorms.
For more places to stay in New Plymouth you can explore the latest prices here!___________________________
New Zealand Travel Planning
Jucy Van: The best way to explore New Zealand is with a Jucy camper! We spent over six weeks driving around the North and South Islands in a van and loved every moment.
Rental Car: If you’re not renting a van you’ll need a car to see this country. We use Discover Cars when traveling and enjoy having the freedom to get around.
Flights: It’s easy to find cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Auckland to Queenstown for $40 USD, and New Zealand to Fiji for less than $150!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go to if you’re traveling on a budget.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over New Zealand! They have everything from tickets to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves to a Hobbiton movie set tour, and even a Northland hole in the rock dolphin cruise!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for insurance the last few years and they are always there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
North Island New Zealand
Travel Tips & Guides: 10 Helpful NZ Travel Tips – North Island Itinerary – South Island Itinerary – 25 Beautiful Beaches – Wellington to Picton Ferry – 15 Freedom Camping Tips – 27 Delicious Food & Drinks
Auckland & Northland: Piha Beach & Kitekite Falls – Cape Reinga Lighthouse – Russell – Mangonui – Mount Eden – Devonport Day Trip – Waiheke Island Guide – 9 Best Waiheke Wineries
Lake Taupo: 17 Fun Things to Do – Mount Tauhara Hike – Best Street Art – Taranaki Falls – Huka Falls Walk – 14 Tongariro Crossing Tips
Wellington: 10 Fun Things to Do – Mount Victoria Hike – Best Breweries – Cable Car & Botanical Gardens
Bay of Plenty: Tairua – Hot Water Beach – Cathedral Cove Walk – 8 Maunganui Things Not to Miss – Mount Maunganui Hike – East Cape Road Trip – How to Find Tua Tua Clams
Rotorua & Raglan: Kerosene Creek – Redwoods Treewalk – 8 Raglan Things to Do – Bridal Veil Falls
→ Explore all our South Island New Zealand Travel Tips & Guides