Not far off the highway and only a short 10 minute drive from Taraunga is McLaren Falls Park which is 190 hectares of parkland set alongside Lake McLaren.
We drove up early enough to enjoy coffee at the café before our bush walk however the café was closed when we arrived. My friends did say that the food is great at the café and very reasonably priced.
Right by the café is the information kiosk where we parked our car and walked to the falls through the rainforest. We grabbed a map here at the information centre however we soon noticed that the roads through the park were well signed so we did not really need the map. There is plenty of parking by the information centre and around the park areas.
We set off for our walk up to the falls, which in fact was only a very short but pleasant walk with gorgeous ferns, tree ferns, vegetation and abundance of bird life along the way. The falls are not high and are really a small waterfall.
After taking many photos we did some more exploring. From the falls we then walked to the picturesque lake with its magnificent reflections coming from the colourful trees by the waters edge.
It was autumn and the park was particularly stunning with the leaves changing colour. The serene setting with its resident ducks and black swans was breathtaking.
McLaren Falls park is a certainly a great place to spend a few hours or in fact a few days. On a sunny day it would be a great spot to clamber over some rocks and go for a refreshing swim. McLaren Falls park is also home to one of the best botanical collections of trees in New Zealand.
This park is vast. Not only beautiful, but so much to do, you can kayak, walk, BBQ, swim, check out the Falls, camp, see glow worms, enjoy the lake or take a picnic for a very relaxing few hours.
There are some great walking tracks with interesting bushes and trees surrounding the area. If you are a camper you have the opportunity to book a spot to stay a night or 2. There is also a hostel in the park however I did not see it.