The Top 10 Best New Zealand Waterfalls

Sutherland Falls
It's not easy to put together a Top 10 Best New Zealand Waterfalls List because it's completely subjective and limited to each person's experience with the falls being named. This list is based on our own personal experiences, and it's is sure to change as we intend to make more trips to Middle-Earth to experience more of the country's superb nature and of course its waterfalls. While it was certainly hard to pick just 10 waterfalls out of our library of experiences (some of the waterfalls changed in ratings after having follow-up visits), this is probably as honest as they come. So without further adieu, here they are in reverse order...



10. MT DAMPER FALLS [Stratford District, Taranaki]
Mt Damper Falls
This 74m waterfall nestled deep off the Forgotten World Highway was a pleasant surprise to Julie and I when we were trying to buy ourselves time while waiting out the bad weather to do the Tongariro Crossing. Indeed, it felt like we had gone off the beaten path to find this gem, and it was even considered one of the North Island's tallest waterfalls to boot! It also offered us breathtaking bush and white cliff scenery along with the serenity that could only be attained by straying away from the usual crush of the tourist-beaten paths.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.




9. BRIDAL VEIL FALLS (WAIREINGA) [near Raglan, Waikato]
Bridal Veil Falls near Raglan
This picturesque 55m plunging waterfall whose Maori name was Waireinga was worth the detour between Hamilton and Raglan on the North Island. We were able to experience the falls from its brink, from an expansive upper overlook, and from its base. The well-maintained walking track to take in the falls in these various ways made it easy to access. Indeed, it's waterfalls like this that reminded us why New Zealand was the place to be when it came to nature.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.




8. WAIRERE FALLS [Matamata-Piako District, Waikato]
Wairere Falls
This skyscraping waterfall with a towering drop of 153m was so tall that we even spotted it from the Waikato Plains when we drove between Matamata and the falls as well as seeing it again on the return. Both times we saw this majestic falls from up close, they were from a direct view at an overlook half-way up the mountain. We could have tested ourselves by climbing to the top of the waterfall where there promised to be regal views of the Waikato Plains expanse. Nonetheless, this was certainly one of the most impressive waterfalls in the North Island, and it also seemed to grow in popularity over the years.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.




7. HUKA FALLS [Taupo, Waikato]
Huka Falls
What this waterfall lacked in height, it more than made up for in other ways. Indeed, it possessed sheer power practically frothing the mineral-rich powdery blue Waikato River daring jet boat tours to come closer while threatening to pull them in its undertow. So Julie and I were quite content to see such sheer force and character as this underdog waterfall could be easily viewable from both sides of the river. It was a pretty classic example of how New Zealand surprised us in ways that we never saw coming prior to our visit. I'd imagine it will likely have the same effect on you, too!

Click here to read more about this waterfall.




6. MAROKOPA FALLS [near Waitomo Caves, Waikato]
Marokopa Falls
This wide, classical, rectangular-shaped year-round 30m waterfall is easily accessible and also quite misty. While most tourists come to this part of the Waikato Region to see the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, this waterfall further to the west is one of the North Island's more reliable and picturesque waterfalls, and should also be on everyone's itinerary.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.




5. BOWEN FALLS [Milford Sound, Southland]
Bowen Falls
This was the first of two permanent waterfalls situated in the impossibly beautiful Milford Sound. I gave it special attention because there used to be walking access to its base though it was closed indefinitely just prior to our arrival. That said, this gorgeous 161m waterfall still benefitted from bush-clad mountains serving as a backdrop when we viewed it during the popular Milford Sound Cruise. So given its location, its size, and its overall wild and naturesque feel, we felt compelled to include this waterfall on its own in this list.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.




4. STIRLING FALLS [Milford Sound, Southland]
Stirling Falls
Plunging off a hanging valley between the Elephant and Lion Mountains deep in the Milford Sound, this 155m waterfall was the other of the permanent waterfalls we encountered while touring the mythical Milford Sound. Unlike the look-but-don't-touch experience of Bowen Falls, the cruises that we went on actually tried to drench people willing to stand outside the front of the boat as the nose of the vessel would go directly beneath its falling waters. In addition to this waterfall, there were many others to be seen both named and unnamed, and we were totally waterfall-saturated by the end of this waterfalling experience.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.




3. HUMBOLDT FALLS [Hollyford Valley, Southland]
Humboldt Falls
This giant 275m waterfall was one of Fiordland National Park's better kept secrets. When we first saw it back in 2004, it was known mostly to trampers setting out on the Hollyford Track or to those self-driving and willing to take the detour from the Milford Sound Highway. Yet this waterfall epitomized the spectacular bush scenery nestled amongst majestic peaks so prevalent in this remote part of the Southern Alps. Oh, and by the way, there was also a companion waterfall about half its size to add to the drama and awe of the scene.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.




2. DEVIL'S PUNCHBOWL FALLS [Arthur's Pass National Park, Canterbury]
Devil's Punchbowl Falls
With a towering drop of 131m amidst the stunning alpine backdrop of the Arthur's Pass section of the Southern Alps, it was certainly the star attraction of the rugged Arthur's Pass National Park. Given the various ways we managed to experience the falls (as we were able to get close enough to the base of the falls to feel its spray or get a nose-bleed view from across the valley), it was a no-brainer to include this mighty cataract in our regional Top 10 of Best New Zealand Waterfalls.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.




1. SUTHERLAND FALLS [Milford Track, Southland]
Sutherland Falls
***World's Top 10*** This gorgeous 580m waterfall was easily New Zealand's most spectacular waterfall. Given its remote location deep in the wild and beautiful Fiordland National Park (also a World Heritage Area), this was one of many highlights of the famed Milford Track - said to be one of the finest walks in the world. Julie and I certainly bent over backwards to make a visit to this waterfall happen, and we didn't regret it one bit. In fact, this waterfall was so spectacular that it also made our World's Top 10 List.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.



What's YOUR Top 10 List?

Have your own Top 10 List?

Or do you have a favorite waterfall?

Is there one (or more) waterfalls that you think should've been on this list?

Any waterfalls you feel that shouldn't have been on this list?

Everybody has an opinion. What's yours?

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North Island Falls 
There are many waterfalls in North Island of New Zealand as well. Here is the list of few: National Park Waterfall Whangarei Falls , Northland …

Only Seen One... 
I think you have a wonderfull site, and as a New Zealander I really liked to see your choices for our top 10 . Alas I have only seen one during my …

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