Maruia Falls

Buller District, West Coast Region (South Island), New Zealand

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 1
Maruia Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Maruia Falls was one of the few wide river waterfalls that we were able to experience somewhat closely from its bottom. The other waterfall that came to mind in this category was Raukawa Falls on the North Island, but that one only let us see the falls from a distance. In any case, this roughly 9-11m tall waterfall was said to have grown 8m after the Murchison Earthquake in 1929 when a landslide diverted the watercourse towards an old riverbed (elaborating further upon one of our books saying the riverbed lowered by 8m after the earthquake). So given its drop, it was said to be a pretty runnable kayak though we didn't see it during our visit in late 2009.

Given that this waterfall sat on the Maruia River, I didn't think we needed to worry about its flow year-round. From the well-signed roadside car park, our visit was a breeze as we were able to briefly walk to a couple of viewing spots. The first one was near a picnic area overlooking the top of Maruia Falls. A second way of experiencing the falls was at the end of a short walkway that led us down to the banks of the Maruia River where we were able to see the falls as you see pictured at the top of this page.

With the gray and overcast conditions, the falls actually blended in with the rest of the sky. So while our photos weren't remarkable under such conditions, we did notice a handful of people who did some off trail scrambling to get up to the very brink of the waterfall. They provided a nice contrast to the falls in my photos as well as provide some sense of scale of its overall size. I did entertain the thought of doing what they did, but I ultimately decided against it.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

To the west of Maruia Falls between Greymouth and Westport was the attractive Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki, which also featured natural sea arches and blowholesTo the west of Maruia Falls between Greymouth and Westport was the attractive Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki, which also featured natural sea arches and blowholes
On our initial trip to New Zealand in 2004, Julie and I managed to stay at the Pancake Rocks in bitterly cold temperatures in time to catch the sunset and all the changing colors thereafterOn our initial trip to New Zealand in 2004, Julie and I managed to stay at the Pancake Rocks in bitterly cold temperatures in time to catch the sunset and all the changing colors thereafter
To the northwest of Maruia Falls (going west to Westport, then north to Karamea) was the Oparara Basin and its bloody-red watercourses beneath natural arches like this oneTo the northwest of Maruia Falls (going west to Westport, then north to Karamea) was the Oparara Basin and its bloody-red watercourses beneath natural arches like this one
To the south of Maruia Falls near Springs Junction and Five Mile Creek Falls was the Maruia Springs, which reminded us of the Japanese onsen experience (except you don't have to go in naked)To the south of Maruia Falls near Springs Junction and Five Mile Creek Falls was the Maruia Springs, which reminded us of the Japanese onsen experience (except you don't have to go in naked)
View from the top of Maruia Falls from the upper viewing deckView from the top of the falls from the upper viewing deck

Looking over Maruia Falls towards the mountains on the opposite side of the Maruia RiverLooking over the falls towards the mountains on the opposite side of the Maruia River

Walking on the short path leading to the base of Maruia FallsWalking on the short path leading to the base of the falls

A guy who managed to scramble to get right to the brink of Maruia FallsA guy who managed to scramble to get right to the brink of the falls

A broad and more focused long exposed look at Maruia FallsA broad and more focused long exposed look at the falls

On the shores of the Maruia River looking towards Maruia FallsOn the shores of the Maruia River looking towards the falls

On the way back up to the car park, we got this partial side view of Maruia FallsOn the way back up to the car park, we got this partial side view of the falls

Julie noticed these olive-looking things growing alongside the short track leading to the bottom of Maruia FallsJulie noticed these olive-looking things growing alongside the short track leading to the bottom of the falls


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Left to right sweep from the bottom of the falls along the Maruia River


Short bottom up sweep from the shores of the Maruia River just downstream of the falls


Left to right sweep from the overlook at the top of the falls


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From the SH6 and SH67 junction in Westport, we drove on SH6 for about 80km east to its junction with SH65 in the Buller Gorge near Murchison. We then headed south on SH65 for just under 11km to the well-signed car park on our right.

Going in the other direction, the signed car park for Maruia Falls would be on the left of the road heading north on SH65 about 65km north of Springs Junction. See the Five Mile Creek Falls page for directions on getting to Springs Junction from Christchurch or Greymouth.




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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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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Beautiful Spot But Can Be Deadly (Maruia Falls) 
I have been to these falls, and witnessed some kayakers going over the falls, which I thought was fool-hardy, but they seemed to do it just fine. …

Maruia Falls, West Coast, South Island 
Not high or forceful, but I like it.

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