Photo: Paul Rawlingson/Shutterstock

Rere Rockslide in New Zealand Is an All Natural Water Park

New Zealand Outdoor Insider Guides
by Matador Creators Jan 5, 2023

Just 45 minutes outside of Gisborne, New Zealand, adventure seekers won’t find a water park full of chlorinated pools and plastic slides, but a totally natural feature of the landscape that offers families just as much fun: the Rere Rockslide.

In the warmer months hundreds of people (tourists and locals alike) gather at Rere Rockslide – kind of like nature’s version of Slip ‘N Slide. The natural rockslide is totally free to access. All you need to bring is your body, and something to slide on. Anything will do, from a yoga mat, to a boogie board, or even a piece of cardboard.

A river runs constantly over the rock face, and empties out into a deep pool at the end of the slide, so you need to know how to swim. The top of the slide is especially slippery, and as you’re walking out to the middle to position yourself to slide down, it’s easy to slip and fall on your butt, so use caution. Families are welcome, but only older kids should be allowed to venture out onto the slide.

Once you’ve positioned yourself at the top of the rock slide and push yourself off, you’ll quickly pick up speed before being dumped in the pool below. Hold yourself steady, or else be prepared to be tossed around by rushing water along the rock slide. People who have been there before have discovered that some materials produce a faster ride than others – an air mattress for instance offers a more relaxed ride while thrill seekers will opt for the super fast boogie board option.

Rere Rockslide is 60 meters long, and located along the Wharekopae River. If you prefer a quiet excursion without many crowds watching your perhaps ungraceful descent down the rockslide, you might want to get there early in the morning. By 10 am, throngs of eager swimmers tend to crowd the slide. But no matter when you arrive, expect to wile away the hours going down the slide again and again.

A short walk downstream from Rere Rockslide is Rere Falls. It’s worth taking the walk just to see this impressive waterfall, but if you’re in the mood for an extra adventure, some especially brave people like to climb behind the falls and then jump through the water into the pool below.

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