South Island Waterfalls (New Zealand)



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map

TABLE OF CONTENTS



[Back to top]

INTRODUCTION

The South Island Waterfalls seemed to be appropriate attractions in an island that seemed to be the wilder and less populated of the major islands of New Zealand. Dominated by the snowy Southern Alps running along its spine, it separates the island into distinct climate regions from the wet and wild West Coast bordering the Tasman Sea to the drier Canterbury Plains east of the alps. Along with the extremes of Nature, we enjoyed contrasting our bush experiences with the conservative/urban mix of Christchurch, the quirky college town of Dunedin, and the adrenaline-junkies' hotspot in Queenstown.

As you can see from the map at the top of this page, Julie and I have seen far too many waterfalls on the South Island to clump all that content into a singular list. So we've decided to split up the island into the following divisions - Canterbury, Marlborough, Nelson, and Tasman Regions, Southland and Otago Regions, and the West Coast Region. The Canterbury, Marlborough, Nelson, and Tasman Regions were pretty much in the rain shadow on the other side of the Southern Alps. This meant that this side of the South Island also tended to be drier and sunnier. That said, this was where we witnessed the imposing Mt Cook (Aoraki) and its adjacent glacier-fed colorful lakes as well as waterfalls such as Wakefield Falls. Further to the north, we were treated to coastal scenes in locales like Abel Tasman National Park and Kaikoura among others. Here, we saw waterfalls famously visited by wildlife in Ohau Falls as well as the more adventurous Wainui Falls among others. Then, there was Ryde Falls, which was a reasonable day trip from the largest city on the South Island in Christchurch.

In the Southland and Otago Regions, this was where we experienced some of the planet's wettest spots in Fiordland National Park amidst the mountains and fiords to the far southwest end. This included the mythical Milford Sound and remote Doubtful Sound. Among the waterfalls we were fortunate to see here include the country's mightiest waterfall in Sutherland Falls as well as Humboldt Falls. Further to the south in the windswept Catlins Forest, we saw waterfall attractions on a more intimate scale in Purakaunui Falls and McLean Falls.

The West Coast Region followed the wet windward side of the Southern Alps. It was in the central part of this division in the Westland District that we encountered the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers each with their own plethora of waterfall attractions. Further to the south, we encountered some waterfalls in the Haast River valley and over the Haast Pass in Thunder Creek Falls and Fantail Falls. In the far north end of this division, we saw towering waterfalls such as Devil's Punchbowl Falls and even wide ones like Maruia Falls. In addition, we saw waterfalls amidst some very wild and turbulent gnarled coastlines near Mangatini Falls.

Indeed, what we described here merely scratched the surface of the diversity of activities on offer in the South Island. The waterfalling was our excuse to go well beyond most tourist itineraries, yet there was so much more to truly experience this wilder side of Aotearoa!




[Back to top]

WATERFALL THUMBNAILS

To get a glimpse of what each waterfall looks like, check out the table below. Click on the waterfalls to read more about them.

[Back to top]

Canterbury, Marlborough, Nelson, and Tasman Regions

Ohau Falls 2.5 Ohau Falls
Kaikoura, Canterbury

Wakefield Falls 2.5 Wakefield Falls
Mt Cook, Canterbury

Acland Falls 1 Acland Falls
Peel Forest Park, Canterbury

Emily Falls 1 Emily Falls
Peel Forest Park, Canterbury

Wainui Falls 2.5 Wainui Falls
Abel Tasman National Park, Tasman

Devil's Punchbowl Falls 4 Devil's Punchbowl Falls
Arthur's Pass National Park, Canterbury

Reid Falls 1.5 Twin Creek Falls and Reid Falls
Arthur's Pass National Park, Canterbury

Bridal Veil Falls as seen from Scotts Track 1.5 Bridal Veil Falls
Arthur's Pass National Park, Canterbury

Avalanche Creek Falls 2 Avalanche Creek Falls
Arthur's Pass National Park, Canterbury

[Back to top]

Southland and Otago Regions

Humboldt Falls 4 Humboldt Falls
Hollyford Valley, Southland

Bowen Falls 4 Bowen Falls
Milford Sound, Southland

Stirling Falls 4 Stirling Falls and the Milford Sound Waterfalls
Milford Sound, Southland

Sutherland Falls 4.5 Sutherland Falls and the Milford Track Waterfalls
Fiordland National Park, Southland

Christie Falls 2.5 Christie Falls and the Milford Highway Waterfalls
Fiordland National Park, Southland

The Chasm 1 The Chasm
Fiordland National Park, Southland

Browne Falls 3 Browne Falls, Cleve Garth Falls, Helena Falls, and the Doubtful Sound Waterfalls
Doubtful Sound, Southland

Hidden Falls on the Hollyford Track 2.5 Hidden Falls
Hollyford Valley, Southland

Purakaunui Falls 3 Purakaunui Falls
Catlins Forest Park, Southland / Otago

McLean Falls 2.5 McLean Falls
Catlins Forest Park, Southland / Otago

Matai Falls 2 Matai Falls
Catlins Forest Park, Southland / Otago

Barrs Falls 1.5 Barrs Falls
Clutha, Otago

[Back to top]

West Coast Region

Thunder Creek Falls 2.5 Thunder Creek Falls
Mt Aspiring National Park, West Coast

Fantail Falls 2.5 Fantail Falls
Mt Aspiring National Park, West Coast

Roaring Billy Falls 1 Roaring Billy Falls
Mt Aspiring National Park, West Coast

Depot Creek Falls 1.5 Depot Creek Falls
Mt Aspiring National Park, West Coast

Trident Creek Falls 2 "Trident Creek Falls", Unser Fritz Falls, and the Franz Josef Glacier Waterfalls
Westland, West Coast

One of the falls at Fox Glacier 1 Fox Glacier Waterfalls
Westland, West Coast

Maruia Falls 2.5 Maruia Falls
Buller, West Coast

Five Mile Creek Falls 2 Five Mile Creek Falls
Grey, West Coast

Carew Creek Falls 2 Carew Creek Falls
Grey, West Coast

Dorothy Falls 1 Dorothy Falls
Grey, West Coast

Mangatini Falls 3 Mangatini Falls
Buller, West Coast

Ryde Falls 1.5 Ryde Falls
near Christchurch, Canterbury




[Back to top]

RELATED PAGES



Have You Been To A New Zealand Waterfall?

Share your experience!

Click here to see general visitor comments for this region

Click here to see visitor comments for waterfalls that we've visited in this region

You can use the form below, but if you find our host's interface too troublesome to use (especially if you're trying to upload photos), then just send a text submission anyways using the form, but also let us know that you'd like to attach photos. If you've provided an email address via the form, then we can reply back acknowledging your request, and you can then reply to that email with your photo attachments. We're very sorry about this, but there's not much we can do about SBI's terrible interface.

Have comments (or would like to read other people's comments) about the waterfalls in this region? Click here

Or have comments (or would like to read other people's comments) about a particular waterfall in this region? Click here





[Back to top]

[Go to the New Zealand Waterfalls Page]


[Return from South Island Waterfalls to the World of Waterfalls Home Page]