Thunder Creek Falls

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

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 1
Thunder Creek Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



[Back to top]

INTRODUCTION

Thunder Creek Falls was one of the more well-known waterfalls in the Haast River Valley section of Mt Aspiring National Park. Julie and I sensed it was popular because both times we made a visit here, there were a handful of cars at the car park despite our early morning arrivals in an area that was pretty wild and remote compared to much of the rest of the South Island of New Zealand. We suspect that a very big reason for its fame was its ease of accessibility as we only had to do a walk of between 5-10 minutes to get to it and back from the well-signed car park. Perhaps another contributor to its notoriety was its satisfyingly tall 28m height as well as the rushing and colourful Haast River running right before it.

To us, this waterfall also helped to break up the driving along the SH6 as we were one of many tourists driving between the Franz or Fox Glaciers and Queenstown. The Gates of Haast at Haast Pass, which was fairly close to this waterfall, was the southernmost road traverse of the Southern Alps, which was essentially the spine of the South Island. This "spine" also separated the very rainy West Coast from the much drier leeward plains of Otago and Canterbury. Thunder Creek Falls was on the side of the pass draining towards the Tasman Sea so both times we made a visit here (November 2004 and December 2009) were under misty, foggy, and/or rainy conditions though that didn't seem to do much to deter the sandflies that conspired to keep us moving and not lingering here for long.




[Back to top]

PHOTO JOURNAL

This was the bridge over the Haast River at the Gates of Haast just 1.2km east of Thunder Creek FallsThis was the bridge over the Haast River at the Gates of Haast just 1.2km east of Thunder Creek Falls
Both times that Julie and I have made the drive through the Haast River Valley and Thunder Creek Falls, we either stopped or started at Queenstown and the Remarkables (and both times it rained hard)Both times that Julie and I have made the drive through the Haast River Valley and Thunder Creek Falls, we either stopped or started at Queenstown and the Remarkables (and both times it rained hard)
While driving between Thunder Creek Falls and Queenstown, we also managed to make a short detour to the shores of Lake WanakaWhile driving between Thunder Creek Falls and Queenstown, we also managed to make a short detour to the shores of Lake Wanaka
On the far north end of the long drive from Queenstown through the Haast River Valley was the Fox Glacier (shown here) as well as the Franz Josef GlacierOn the far north end of the long drive from Queenstown through the Haast River Valley was the Fox Glacier (shown here) as well as the Franz Josef Glacier
Our first look at Thunder Creek Falls in November 2004Our first look at the falls in November 2004

Thunder Creek Falls showing more of the colour in the Haast River running before itThe falls showing more of the colour in the Haast River running before it

A roadside waterfall next to SH6 seen somewhere between Thunder Creek Falls and Fantail Falls in November 2004A roadside waterfall next to SH6 seen somewhere between Thunder Creek Falls and Fantail Falls in November 2004

Julie checking out Thunder Creek Falls from the banks of the Haast River in December 2009Julie checking out the falls from the banks of the Haast River in December 2009

Driving on SH6 along the shores of I believe Lake Wakatipu as we were getting closer to QueenstownDriving on SH6 along the shores of I believe Lake Wakatipu as we were getting closer to Queenstown


[Back to top]

VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Bottom up sweep from the fast moving creek towards the top of the falls


[Back to top]

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From the Haast Junction (119km south of Fox Glacier along the SH6), Thunder Creek Falls was about 52km further to the south along the SH6. There was a signposted car park at the trailhead making this place pretty easy to find. It was a little over a kilometre west 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.




[Back to top]

ITINERARIES

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




[Back to top]

MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





[Back to top]

TRIP REPORTS

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




[Back to top]

TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




[Back to top]

NEARBY WATERFALLS




[Back to top]

RELATED PAGES



Have You Been To This Waterfall?

Share your experience!

Click here to see visitor comments for this waterfall

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

Click here to go to the Comments Main Page

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.

What Other Visitors Have Said

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

Fish River Gorge 
In 2006, I and my two children (daughter, then 15; son, then 17) had spent 7 weeks Down Under, 1.5 of which were mostly on South Island. I am currently …

Click here to write your own.



[Back to top]

[Go to the South Island Waterfalls Page]

[Go to the New Zealand Page]


[Return from Thunder Creek Falls to the World of Waterfalls Home Page]