Jess is a Wanderer was road-tripping around the Bay of Plenty when a recommendation for a secret waterfall near Whanarua Bay was mentioned. Of course, it had to be checked out so pulling off State Highway 35, the quest to find the secret falls began.
It was a bit of a mission climbing up to the top of the steep river banks and then criss-crossing using wobbly stepping-stones and pieces of abandoned driftwood. Nonetheless, it was absolutely worth the effort as the falls at the end of the trail were quite impressive.
The trail itself is completely natural, branches have been cut away and the path is worn where explorers before have ventured. However, there are no official DOC (Department of Conservation) signs advertising the waterfalls' presence, location or distance etc. My advice would be (coming from the East) go past the Nut House Cafe and you'll see parked cars on your right about 1km along the road. Pull over, cross the road and there's a little entrance into the bush.
If you're coming from the west, when you get to Whanarua Bay, look for some parked cars on your left. It won't be obvious where they're going but if you make it to the Nut House Cafe, you've gone too far.
Here are my pics from the exploration. Good luck on your own quest!