Dorothy Falls

Lake Kaniere / Hokitika, South Island, New Zealand

About Dorothy Falls

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time: 5 minutes

Date first visited: 2004-11-22
Date last visited: 2004-11-22

Waterfall Latitude: -42.84688
Waterfall Longitude: 171.16851

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Dorothy Falls was sort of an obscure waterfall that Julie and I made a short detour to see while we were spending the better part of a late afternoon around the town of Hokitika.

According to the LINZ-based topo maps, this waterfall was listed at 64m tall.

Dorothy_Falls_011_11212004 - Dorothy Falls
Dorothy Falls

However, as you can see from the photo above, it seemed to be significantly shorter than that.

Perhaps we were only able to see the last 10-15m of the overall drop where the rest of its flow might be visible from the neighbouring Lake Kaniere if we were somehow able to get a boat and float our way onto the lake itself.

Speaking of the lake, it was said to be one of the prettiest lakes in New Zealand and we can see why.

During our visit, it was very peaceful and calm as it was fringed by native bush.

Lake_Kaniere_002_11212004 - Looking across Lake Kaniere while driving towards Dorothy Falls on the east side of the lake
Looking across Lake Kaniere while driving towards Dorothy Falls on the east side of the lake

If we had a little more time to spend here, we could easily foresee ourselves just chilling out and relaxing along the shores of the lake.

As for visiting Dorothy Falls, it was very straightforward.

Once we managed to drive to it (see directions below), we made it to a single-lane bridge where we could look directly at the falls.

We were also able to walk along the creek to get even closer to the signed falls, but for all intents and purposes, this was a roadside waterfall.


Dorothy Falls resides in the Lake Kaniere Scenic Reserve near Hokitika in the West Coast region of South Island, New Zealand. 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.

Lake_Kaniere_003_11212004 - Looking along Lake Kaniere as we were making our way towards Dorothy Falls
Dorothy_Falls_017_11212004 - The signposted short track to Dorothy Falls
Dorothy_Falls_004_11212004 - View of Dorothy Falls from the single-lane bridge
Dorothy_Falls_001_11212004 - A little bit more contextual view of Dorothy Falls providing doubt that at least this part of the falls was 64m tall

The way we got to Dorothy Falls was from the coastal town of Hokitika.

Perhaps the most straightforward route (which was actually our return route) was from the junction of SH6 and Stratford St near the centre of town.

Heading east on Stratford St, it became Kaniere Rd after about 1.5km.

Then, we followed Kaniere Rd for the next 4km before keeping left at its junction with Kaniere-Kowhitirangi Rd and Lake Kaniere Rd.

We then took Lake Kaniere Rd for the next 13km towards the north end of Lake Kaniere.

Turning left at the junction by the lake, we headed east on Hans Bay Rd as it followed the eastern shore of Lake Kaniere.

After about 7.5km (becoming Dorothy Falls Rd along the way), we ultimately reached the falls.

However, we had to drive the last 4km or so on unsealed road, which was a little rough in spots (due to an apparent mud slide at the time).

Overall, this drive took us about 45 minutes or so from Hokitika, which was a charming town that I seemed to have several greenstone (jade) gem shops as well as a very good restaurant (I forgot the name).

We didn’t linger around enough to better appreciate its gold mining heritage.

For additional context, Hokitika was about 30 minutes (39km) south of Greymouth, 100 minutes drive (134km) north of Franz Josef Glacier, and well over 3 hours drive (245km) northwest of Christchurch.

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Tagged with: kaniere, hokitika, west coast, south island, new zealand, waterfall, franz josef

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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