About fifty minutes west of Auckland in the Waitakere Range (and just south of the Kitekite Falls) is the most accessible water fall we’ve found - Karekare Falls. This is the waterfall to go to if you’ve got little kids who absolutely cannot walk very far. The total walk from the road to the waterfall is about ten minutes. (Take note that there are some stairs, so a stroller is going to be difficult.)
The first stop along the trek is a set of picturesque pools. My mountain goat of a kid successfully climbed up the slippery rock wall by the pools. It was terrifying to watch, but he had no trouble going both up and down. While scenic and tempting to stop, it pays to keep walking past this initial stopping point.
Just a few more minutes down the path, there is a clearing that leads to a stunning waterfall. To make the trip even more fun, next to the waterfall my kids found some huge old growth trees that were begging to be climbed. They spent about half an hour in a magical world in the trees. It was glorious!
There aren’t any picnic tables at the falls, but you could bring food and spread out a blanket and be quite comfortable. The entrance to the pool surrounding the falls is gentle, but the water was COLD. I wasn’t about to get in.
If you really want some water, Karekare beach is right next door. It’s a west coast beach, so the currents and water can be extremely difficult to manoeuvre, but the black sand is as soft and fine as you can imagine. It’s messy, but so worth paying in!