The Wentworth Valley on the Coromandel Peninsula is one of those little gems that are often hidden away from the main tourist routes in New Zealand. But if you take the time to hike up the Wentworth Valley then you will be rewarded with spectacular views across Whangamata from the top of the 50m Wentworth Falls.
Hiking Wentworth Falls Valley
Abandoned mines, secluded waterfalls, stony hiking trails crisscrossing rivers and lush native forest. The Wentworth Falls hike has enough natural scenery to make any Hobbit excited to go on an adventure up the Wentworth Valley.
Located just a short 15 minute drive from the Coromandel Peninsula town of Whangamata, Wentworth Valley is a short family friendly adventure hike lasting just over 2 hours. The Wentworth Falls hiking trail is well maintained and none of the sections are too steep.
Even though I have been visiting Whangamata on the Coromandel Peninsula since I was a baby, this would be the first time I was actually determined to make it all the way up the Wentworth Valley to scope out the view.
Because according to Mum and Dad, this would be the 5th time we had attempted to hike up to Wentworth Falls.
Not because the track was too steep or hard, but because as kids we would make it to the first river crossing and start building dams.
Apparently we never made it past here in 4 previous attempts… Oh to be young again!
With the dust still settling from the drive up the twisting gravel road into the carpark there was nothing to do but get the blood pumping.
Hiking up the trail quickly made me realise how much I have missed the New Zealand scenery while we have been travelling the world. We have been in some stunning locations such as hiking Cinque Terre in Italy, skiing the Three Valleys in France and spending the summer white water rafting in Jasper, Canada.
But nothing compares to home.
Being able to stretch my legs under a dense canopy of native bush was like walking through a cave. On either side of the hiking trail Silver Ferns hiding curled Koru spread across our path and Rimu trees draped their spiky branches to our feet.
Sunlight speckled between the leaves, while the occasional bird call and crunching of the gravel under our boots were the only sounds we could hear.
It wasn’t long until we did come across actual signs of ancient Hobbit inhabitants. Although it may have just been an abandoned gold mine. Unfortunately it only went about 50m into the darkness before stopping dead.
Barely breaking a sweat we continued to navigate between towering tree trunks as the path slowly wound upwards. Every now and then the sunlight would spill across the track as we wandered into a clearing or when we reached a river crossing.
Sturdy timber bridges spanned across the Wentworth Valley floor ensuring that we didn’t get our feet wet. They also proved the perfect spot to grab a drink while warming up under the summer sunshine. It’s amazing how being under the cover of the trees can cause the temperature to drop even in summer.
Within an hour we were at the crossroads to the Wentworth Falls lookout point.
Stairs dug into the banks led us onto the wooden viewing platform for our first glimpses across the valley to the plunging waterfall. Dropping in two tiers the water crashed onto the jagged rocks below.
If it had been the height of summer I might just have been tempted to have a swim in the naturally carved pool.
Although the waterfall seems distant here, it was only another 10 minutes hike up the track. But it was probably the steepest section and rockiest under foot which did make the thighs burn a little.
While only an hour to the top in total we had been delayed by boyish activities and adventures in the past. But after 5 attempts spanning 20+ years we had finally made it.
From the top of Wentworth Falls we could look in two directions. Either straight up the meandering and slow trickling river that turned into a torrent as it dropped over the 50m cliff.
Or we could glance over our shoulder across the Wentworth Valley to the Pacific Ocean glittering bright turquoise in the distance under the blue sky.