About Christie Falls and the Milford Highway Waterfalls
Christie Falls was a roadside waterfall right besides a narrow single-lane bridge on the Milford Sound Highway. Because it was next to a sign that said “Falls Creek”, I’d imagine this waterfall could also be called Falls Creek Falls. Julie and I happened to notice this waterfall when we first drove by it and made it a point to come back here for a closer examination on the way out of the Milford Sound area. We did the same thing five years after our first visit here, but we never really bothered to do more with this waterfall on that subsequent trip other than to look at it. There was a small pullout on the southeast side of the single-lane Falls Creek bridge so that allowed us to get out of the car and try to photograph the falls as you see above without blocking traffic.
That said, the maps (as well as a sign by the trailhead) did indicate that there was a two-hour bush track that followed along Falls Creek. We didn’t do that track so we can’t say what else would be out there, but it did get me wondering. Who knows, maybe next time if the weather cooperates and we allocated enough time to explore some of the less well-known areas of Fiordland, we might have more to say about what the Falls Creek Track would have to offer.
In any case, this waterfall was really my waterfalling excuse to talk about the plethora of nameless waterfalls that seemed to come down like veins along the Milford Sound Highway itself, especially immediately before and after the Homer Tunnel. It was hard to single out these other waterfalls since there were so many of them, but I’d imagine in order to see the vein-like effect, that would involve some timing for when the clouds would start to lift at the end of one of the typical downpours that tended to affect this part of the Southern Alps.
It was a good thing that they put a car park on the east end of the Homer Tunnel to look towards a cirque that contained a collection of ephemeral waterfalls that seemed to be reliably there for the two New Zealand trips where we made it out this way. After the Homer Tunnel (the Milford Sound side), there were a few more roadside pullouts to better appreciate the steepness of the valley as well as the possible waterfalls coming down in waves after rain.
The nearest town of any appreciable size to Fiordland National Park was Te Anau so we’ll describe the driving directions from there. Te Anau was about 171km (2 hours drive) southwest of Queenstown and 153km (2 hours drive) north of Invercargill. Christchurch is about 484km (6 hours drive) from Queenstown and 566km (7 hours drive) from Invercargill.
Heading north from Te Anau along the SH94 (Milford Highway), we drove for about 85km. This drive passed through the Eglington Flat (along the Eglington River) then passed by Lake Gunn and Lake Fergus before rising up through a mountainous part of road before descending towards the junction with the Lower Hollyford Rd at a sharp right turn. Just a kilometre west of the Lower Hollyford Rd junction along the SH94 was the Falls Creek Bridge and Christie Falls.
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