Upper Nihotupu Dam Walk, Waiatarua, Auckland


Location: 1.6km from the start of Piha Road, Waiatarua, Auckland.

Parking: Yes, there is a nice big car park

Toilets: Yes, one toilet just after the bush section of the walk

Dogs: Yes, on leash

Shoes: Sneakers would be fine, I wore my hiking boots as we had been doing multiple walks that day

Date Walked: 28 January 2017

Weather Conditions: Hot, dry, sunny

Distance: 2.3 km approx to dam, then walked around the dam, down to Upper Nihotupu Reservoir Picnic Area and return to the car. Approx 6 km in total, mostly flat, only up hill in a few places.

Time Required: Depending on how long you like to look around, expect an hour return at minimum

Final Rating: ★★★★☆


Getting to the dam is relatively easy. Follow the map above, onto Piha road. 1.6 km along the road, there is a big car park for the dam. This is highly visible as there is a parking sign on the right side of the road.



Because I had been walking all day, I still had my 1.5 L water bottle, my camera and some snacks. Sunblock was a must because of the hot weather, and lack of shade.


The walk begins in the car park, and over a little bridge into the bush. The sign before the bridge says 40 minutes to dam which I would say is accurate, taken at a decent pace.


Continuing through the bush, about 10 minutes later, you come out of the bush and find yourself at the service road. This is also where the questionable toilet is located. From here, another sign lets you know that it’s 30 minutes to the dam.


Making your way down the service road, there is a lovely view on your left of water flowing over rocks into a pool. Over the pool is a bridge, and to your right the top of the water fall that you will be able to see a bit further down the road.

Further down the service road, you will see the water fall that I mentioned above.


Shortly after the water fall, you will get your first glimpse at the dam in the distance, and the stunning blue pond.


Following the service road, we made it to a little junction with the option of turning right to the dam, or continuing straight to the picnic / tram line area. We decided to head to the dam first, and then back track to go and check out the tram line later. At the dam on your left, there is a covered area with benches, and a few information boards on the wall about the dams construction.


At the other end of the dam, there is a track, which I believe leads to more walks however I am yet to do any of those.


Once we had seen the dam, we decided to go back to the junction mentioned above, and head towards the picnic area and tram line. This again followed the service road, for around 5 minutes.



At the picnic / tram line area, there is a lovely covered area with multiple tables. Beside the beginning of the tram line, there is another questionable toilet!


From here, we followed the path of the tram line, through the bush, over bridges, and eventually back to the base of the dam.

At the base of the dam, you have the option to turn back and return to the dam via the service road, or, climb up the side of the dam via the stairs. These stairs are very steep, so make sure you’re holding on tight to the railings!

Once we climbed the stairs, we were back at the top (just behind the green building). We then returned back up the service road, through the bush and to the car park.

This would make an enjoyable leisurely stroll. I am glad I did the walk, however next time, I may try out one of the walks of the end of the dam. I sometimes find on these dam walks, that while walking along the service road, there is not that much to look at.

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