Fantail Falls

Mt Aspiring National Park / Haast Pass / Westland District, West Coast Region (South Island), New Zealand

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 1
Fantail Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Fantail Falls was the second of two pretty well-known waterfalls we encountered in the vicinity of Haast Pass as we were motoring through Mt Aspiring National Park between Queenstown and Glacier Country (i.e. Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier). Thunder Creek Falls was the other of the famous ones in the area, but unlike that one, Fantail had a more bulbous appearance that someone must have imagined a fantail thereby prompting its name. Julie and I only had to do a very short two-minute walk from the car park to the banks of the Haast River where we could see this shapely waterfall.

Perhaps the only thing keeping us from lingering here longer and enjoying the falls more thoroughly were the annoying sandflies that seemed to keep swarming around us unless we kept moving. The DEET that we had on didn't seem to faze these sandflies very much, which was why not staying put in any spot for any sustained period of time was the key to minimizing the likelihood of getting those really itchy reactions from their bites. I'd imagine this waterfall was also well-known because it was well-signed and there always seemed to be a handful of cars and tourists seeing the falls at any given moment despite the relatively remote and undeveloped nature of this part of the South Island.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

This was the bridge over the Haast River at the Gates of Haast just 4.5km north of Fantail FallsThis was the bridge over the Haast River at the Gates of Haast just 4.5km north of Fantail Falls
Both times that Julie and I have made the drive through the Haast River Valley and Fantail Falls, we either stopped or started at Queenstown, and both times it rained a lot in townBoth times that Julie and I have made the drive through the Haast River Valley and Fantail Falls, we either stopped or started at Queenstown, and both times it rained a lot in town
When driving around Queenstown, it's hard not to notice the mountain chain known as the Remarkables, which I'd imagine could be nice photo subjects backing Lake WakatipuWhen driving around Queenstown, it's hard not to notice the mountain chain known as the Remarkables, which I'd imagine could be nice photo subjects backing Lake Wakatipu
On the far north end of the long drive from Queenstown through the Haast River Valley was the Fox Glacier as well as the Franz Josef Glacier (shown here)On the far north end of the long drive from Queenstown through the Haast River Valley was the Fox Glacier as well as the Franz Josef Glacier (shown here)
A roadside waterfall nearby the pullout for Fantail FallsA roadside waterfall nearby the pullout for Fantail Falls

Approaching the clearing where we could see Fantail FallsApproaching the clearing where we could see the falls in November 2004

Zoomed in focused look at Fantail FallsZoomed in focused look at the falls in November 2004

Looking downstream along the Haast River just as we passed through the bush separating the car park from the riverLooking downstream along the Haast River just as we passed through the bush separating the car park from the river

Julie standing in front of Fantail Falls seen in December 2009Julie standing in front of the falls seen in December 2009

Another look at Fantail Falls as we explored the rocky area around the Haast RiverAnother look at the falls as we explored the rocky area around the river

Heading south of Haast Pass, we entered the lakes region passing through Wanaka then ultimately making our way around Lake Wakatipu towards QueenstownHeading south of Haast Pass, we entered the lakes region passing through Wanaka then ultimately making our way around Lake Wakatipu towards Queenstown


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Bottom up sweep from across the creek of the falls


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From the Haast Junction (119km south of Fox Glacier along the SH6), Fantail Falls was about 58km south along the SH6 (or 6km south of Thunder Creek Falls). There was a signposted car park at the trailhead making this place pretty easy to find. It was a little under 5km south of the Gates of Haast Bridge over the Haast River at the pass.

For context, Fox Glacier was about 23km (30 minutes drive) south of Franz Josef, 196km (2.5 hours drive) south of Greymouth, and 402km (about 5.5km west of Christchurch). Coming from the other direction, Haast Pass was about 2 hours drive (147km) north of Queenstown along SH6.




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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



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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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