Emily Falls

Peel Forest Park / Geraldine District, Canterbury Region (South Island), New Zealand

Rating: 1     Difficulty: 2.5
Emily Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Emily Falls was another of the three main waterfalls that we knew were resident in the Peel Forest. This particular waterfall required a little bit more work to reach than Acland Falls, which we had visited earlier in the day. Plus, this waterfall was smaller at somewhere between 5-10m tall. Yet even though the thought did cross our minds about whether the two-hour return walk to see this waterfall was worth the trouble, as you can see from the photo at the top of this page, it was still picturesque and serene. In fact, Julie and I almost had the entire trail to ourselves so I reckon that it couldn't get much more secluded and tranquil than that. And with such serenity, we were able to start paying attention to some of Nature's subtleties, which really made this excursion much more than than just the waterfall itself.

Speaking of the waterfalling experience, Julie and I began the walk from a car park at the bottom of a hill (see directions below). We had to walk up a pretty steep and unsealed road (which I wondered whether our car would have made it up anyways so I was relieved that we didn't have to drive it). At about half-way up this fairly long uphill climb, we then saw the signed trailhead. At that point, the track continued to climb relentlessly even before finally leveling out. Along the way, we saw a signposted spur for Rata Falls (the third waterfall in the Peel Forest that we knew of), but since it was said to be another 45 minutes away (or 90 minutes round trip), we opted to skip it.

Then, the track descended towards a stream where we did a little bit of some extensive streambed walking in which we crossed the shallow stream three times. Once we regained the trail away from the streambed, the track continued to climb some more before we finally descended towards Emily Falls itself. Given such undulations combined with the length of this track, that was when doubts about whether this waterfall was worth the trouble started to creep in. In any case, the falls was satisfying, and Julie and I even did some additional scrambling onto some rocks in the area to add a little more variety to our viewing experience.

Overall, we spent around 90 minutes to complete the hike, which meant the estimate on the sign at the trailhead was pretty spot on.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

This was the beautifully blue Lake Tekapo seen from near the Church of the Good Shepherd west of Geraldine and Emily FallsThis was the beautifully blue Lake Tekapo seen from near the Church of the Good Shepherd west of Geraldine and Emily Falls
This was the road from Tekapo leading to Aoraki (Mt Cook), which was New Zealand's highest point. This drive followed our hike to Emily FallsThis was the road from Tekapo leading to Aoraki (Mt Cook), which was New Zealand's highest point. This drive followed our hike to Emily Falls
We began driving to Peel Forest from Christchurch, which was the South Island's largest city, yet the city still felt like a quiet rural town for such a big cityWe began driving to Peel Forest from Christchurch, which was the South Island's largest city, yet the city still felt like a quiet rural town for such a big city
About 30 minutes southeast of Christchurch was the charming Lyttleton Harbour, where we got these views on the way to the harbour itselfAbout 30 minutes southeast of Christchurch was the charming Lyttleton Harbour, where we got these views on the way to the harbour itself
Julie starting the walk for Emily Falls as we passed by a sign warning us of the unsealed road's steep gradeJulie starting the walk for the falls as we passed by a sign warning us of the unsealed road's steep grade

Julie walking along the unsealed road leading up to the trailhead for Emily FallsJulie walking along the unsealed road leading up to the trailhead for the falls

Julie going off the road and onto the track for both Emily Falls and Rata FallsJulie going off the road and onto the track for both Emily Falls and Rata Falls

After a pretty relentlessly long initial climb, we reached this signposted track junction where the path on our right led to Rata Falls another 45 minutes awayAfter a pretty relentlessly long initial climb, we reached this signposted track junction where the path on our right led to Rata Falls another 45 minutes away

Julie now on the stream walking section of the hike as this was one of the three stream crossings I recalled having to doJulie now on the stream walking section of the hike as this was one of the three stream crossings I recalled having to do

Our first look at the serene Emily FallsOur first look at the serene falls

Julie scrambled onto some slippery and mossy rocks for this unusual view of Emily FallsJulie scrambled onto some slippery and mossy rocks for this unusual view of the falls

Julie carefully scrambled down from her vantage pointJulie carefully scrambled down from her vantage point


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Right to left sweep from downstream to the falls itself


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

Since we visited Emily Falls from Acland Falls, we'll pick up the driving directions from there. See the Acland Falls page for specific directions on how to get there from Christchurch, Timaru, or Tekapo.

From Acland Falls, we drove south on Rangitata Gorge Rd for about 1.6km before turning right onto Blandswood Rd. This would be the road we would turn left on from Peel Forest Rd had we visited Emily Falls instead of Acland Falls first. We then followed Blandswood Rd for just under 2km before turning right onto Lookout Rd (don't cross the river!). Shortly thereafter, we found the day-use car park to the left side of Lookout Rd. Even though the road continued beyond this car park, it got real steep and we definitely had doubts about whether our rental passenger car might have even made it up to the top.

Once we parked the car at the bottom of the hill, we had to walk up that steep road towards the official signposted trailhead. Some of this walking distance was reflected in the hiking distance given near the top of this page.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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RELATED PAGES



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