Christie Falls and the Milford Highway Waterfalls

Fiordland National Park / Hollyford Valley, South Island, New Zealand

About Christie Falls and the Milford Highway Waterfalls

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2004-11-25
Date last visited: 2009-12-24

Waterfall Latitude: -44.8181
Waterfall Longitude: 168.07858

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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.

Christie_Falls_007_12232009 - Christie Falls on Falls Creek
Christie Falls on Falls Creek

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.

Milford Sound Highway Waterfalls

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.

Fiordland_033_12242009 - Waterfall veins coming down the mountainsides near Homer Tunnel as a storm was clearing
Waterfall veins coming down the mountainsides near Homer Tunnel as a storm was clearing

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.


Christie Falls resides in Fiordland National Park in the Fiordland region. It is administered under the jurisdiction of the Department of Conservation. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Milford_010_11242004 - Driving the Milford Sound Highway as we were making our approach towards Christie Falls and eventually the Homer Tunnel
Milford_013_11242004 - The weather seemed to deteriorate the closer to the Homer Tunnel we went
Milford_018_11242004 - In November 2004, this cirque just to the north of the Homer Tunnel didn't seem to have that many waterfalls, which convinced me that perhaps they were ephemeral
Milford_015_11242004 - Approaching the east entrance to the Homer Tunnel
Milford_023_11242004 - This was the view that greeted us when we left the west side of the Homer Tunnel
Milford_028_11242004 - A series of tall ephemeral waterfalls somewhere not far from the Chasm along the Milford Highway
Milford_054_11242004 - Passing back through the Homer Tunnel as we were headed back towards Christie Falls
Milford_064_11242004 - This was how Christie Falls looked in November 2004
Christie_Falls_001_12232009 - When we returned to Milford Sound in December 2009, we paid a bit more attention to things like this sign for the Falls Creek Track
Christie_Falls_004_12232009 - This was the context of the single-lane bridge before Christie Falls with incoming bad weather in December 2009
Christie_Falls_009_12232009 - When the bad weather came, we started seeing these ephemeral waterfalls in the vicinity of Christie Falls
Milford_Sound_001_jx_12242009 - In December 2009, here's another look at the cirque by the Homer Tunnel where this time we saw a few more strands of waterfalls as opposed to the November 2004 experience
Milford_Sound_004_jx_12242009 - Here was a look at how waterfalls could come down like veins around the Milford Sound Highway.  This occurred after a clearing storm in December 2009
Milford_Sound_006_jx_12242009 - Looking back towards the east end of the Homer Tunnel in December 2009
Fiordland_003_jx_12242009 - It was pouring rain when we left Milford Sound and waited at the west end of the Homer Tunnel in December 2009
Fiordland_010_12242009 - Finally the weather started to clear and we started to see some of the peaks of the surrounding mountains along the Milford Sound Highway
Fiordland_011_12242009 - After the clearing storm, we started to see countless waterfalls like what's shown here
Fiordland_018_12242009 - With the clearing weather, we returned to the cirque by the east end of the Homer Tunnel where we saw these waterfalls and the mountains around it
Fiordland_021_12242009 - These veins of waterfalls were coming down around the west end of the Homer Tunnel shortly after a clearing rain storm
Fiordland_023_12242009 - When we left the west end of the Homer Tunnel under more agreeable weather, this was the view of the valley that greeted us.  Notice the waterfalls lining the valley walls
Fiordland_025_12242009 - Another look at the west end of the Homer Tunnel flanked by waterfalls tumbling around it


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.

Bottom up sweep from the single-lane bridge under swirling mist and rain

360 degree panorama of the plethora of waterfalls seen when the weather cleared up somewhat as seen from the back side of the Homer Tunnel

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Tagged with: hollyford, fiordland, te anau, milford, southland, southern alps, south island, new zealand, waterfall, falls creek, homer

Visitor Comments:

Nice cascades… January 26, 2020 11:15 am by Oliver Descoeudres - Stopped on the way back from Milford Sound to have a look at Christie Falls - it had a decent flow of water. ...Read More

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