Tawhai Falls (Gollum's Pool), Tongariro National Park
Nestled within the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park lies a hidden gem that beckons travellers from around the world – Tawhai Falls. This pristine natural wonder is a testament to the country’s raw beauty and holds a special place in the hearts of many as a filming location for Peter Jackson’s iconic “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy. With its mesmerizing cascades, lush surroundings, and cinematic history, there are countless reasons why Tawhai Falls should be on every traveller’s bucket list.
First and foremost, the sheer natural beauty of Tawhai Falls is awe-inspiring. As visitors approach this secluded spot, they are greeted by the musical sound of rushing water. The falls cascade down moss-covered rocks, creating a mesmerizing, multi-tiered spectacle. The crystal-clear waters contrast beautifully with the vibrant greenery that envelops the falls, creating a picture-perfect scene. Tawhai Falls offers a serene escape into the heart of New Zealand’s wilderness, making it an ideal spot for nature enthusiasts, photographers, and anyone seeking tranquillity.
Beyond its cinematic fame, Tawhai Falls offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors. Hiking enthusiasts can take a short, scenic walk from the car park to the falls. The trail is well-maintained and suitable for all skill levels, making it accessible to families and adventurers alike. Along the way, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the majestic Mount Ngauruhoe, another famous “Lord of the Rings” filming location.
For those seeking a refreshing dip, the plunge pool at the base of Tawhai Falls provides an inviting opportunity to cool off on a warm day. The collection is safe for swimming and is especially popular in summer. Surrounded by the lush forest, it’s a refreshing oasis that feels like a secret paradise.
One of the most intriguing aspects is its connection to the world-renowned "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy.
Peter Jackson chose this location to depict the setting of Gollum’s lair in “The Two Towers.” The falls serve as the backdrop for the pivotal scene in which Frodo and Sam encounter the mysterious creature Gollum. Standing amidst the lush vegetation and cascading waters, it’s easy to see why Tawhai Falls was chosen as the perfect representation of Tolkien’s enchanting world. For franchise fans, visiting this location is like stepping into Middle-earth itself, an experience that will create lasting memories.
The cinematic link to “Lord of the Rings” adds an extra layer of allure to Tawhai Falls. Visitors can reenact their favourite scenes from the film or immerse themselves in the magic of Middle-earth. The falls offer a unique opportunity to walk in the footsteps of beloved characters, making it a must-visit destination for fans of the series.
Peter Jackson also used Mangawhero Falls as well for this scene. Tawhai Falls looks like it was just used as a backdrop. I will also video Mangawhero Falls to see if I can recreate the scene where Frodo and Faramir are looking down on the falls at Gollum.
Getting to Tawhai Falls (Gollum's Pool)
The carpark is located on SH48, approximately 4 km from the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre. Just on the left-hand side, as you head towards the Base of Whakapapa Ski Field, you will see a sign from the Taupo to National Park road.
The walk to the falls is straightforward and takes about 10 minutes to get there.