Kitekite Falls (also called Kitakita Falls) is a scenic 3-tiered waterfall near Auckland, New Zealand. The falls drop a total of 40 metres (130 ft). From the lookout on Kitekite track the falls appear even higher because there is white water running over rocks into a small pool from the upper swimming hole, then falling down into a large pool, then falling to a small pool before beginning an almost vertical descent in the final 3-tiers, making the total height closer to 80 metres (260 ft). They are located on the Glen Esk stream near Piha Beach.
Kitekite Falls walk:
From the carpark at the end of Glenesk Road, directions are clearly signposted. A well formed loop track, used by around 30,000 people a year (2005), follows the Glen Esk Stream with minor undulations (on the south side) up to a lookout where you find a huge Macrocarpa bench seat to rest on and admire the view. The bench seat was made by offenders doing community work (2005). The track then descends down wooden steps to the base of the falls (40 minutes from the carpark). The track then crosses the stream next to the lower swimming hole and returns down the north side. However, instead of going down again, a walker can climb a reasonably steep track (the Connect Track) which begins about 100m from the base of the falls on the northern side of the stream. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the top of the falls. There is a good swimming hole at the top although the water is cool. From this high vantage point there are great views down the valley.
Local flora and fauna:
It has taken many decades for the young Kauri (Agathis australis), known as 'rickers' to regenerate and finally, begin to emerge through the forest canopy again. Many sharp pointed, cone shaped, rickers can be seen from the Kitekite loop track near the falls. At about 100 years old, kauri begin to develop a spreading crown. It is now approaching 100 years since milling stopped. The crowns generally continue to expand for a further 500 years.
The walk to the falls progresses through an impressive patch of nikau palms where the call of the Tui (bird) is frequently heard from above. Other native plants include silver tree ferns, puriri trees whose red berries attract kereru (native pigeon), and the rangioroa plant (bushman's friend due the soft underside of its broad leaf). The falls have been identified as a site of a rare moss Fissidens rigidulus var. pseudostrictus. New Zealand longfin eel, (Anguilla dieffenbachii) hide among the rocks around the base of the falls.
The falls are used for canyoning by an Auckland Regional Parks licenced operator. The issuing of the licence was a 'hot issue' at the 2002 AGM of the Piha Ratepayers and Residents Association where residents voiced concern over the environmental impact to the Kitekite Falls. However, ARC recreation coordinator Lee Whiley said there were no concerns. This recreational activity continues to this day under close monitoring by council. Climbing on the falls (going off track) is strictly prohibited and can only be done with a permit or licenced guide. Restrictions are in place to protect the rare moss growing in the wet areas of the waterfall.