Maruia Falls

Buller District / Murchison, South Island, New Zealand

About Maruia Falls

Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2009-12-31
Date last visited: 2009-12-31

Waterfall Latitude: -41.85932
Waterfall Longitude: 172.25157

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Maruia Falls was one of the few wide river waterfalls in New Zealand that we were able to experience somewhat closely from its bottom.

The other waterfall that came to mind in this category was Raukawa Falls on the North Island, but that one only let us see the falls from a distance.

Maruia_Falls_012_12302009 - Maruia Falls
Maruia Falls

In any case, this roughly 9-11m tall waterfall was said to have grown 8m after the Murchison Earthquake in 1929.

During that event, a landslide diverted the watercourse towards an old riverbed, which according to a driving guide book was also lowered by 8m as a result of the earthquake.

So given its drop, it was said to be a pretty runnable kayak though we didn’t see it during our visit in late 2009.

Given that this waterfall sat on the Maruia River, I didn’t think we needed to worry about its flow year-round.

Maruia_Falls_052_12302009 - Contextual look over the brink of Maruia Falls
Contextual look over the brink of Maruia Falls

From the well-signed roadside car park, our visit was a breeze as we were able to briefly walk to a couple of viewing spots.

The first one was near a picnic area overlooking the top of Maruia Falls.

A second way of experiencing the falls was at the end of a short walkway that led us down to the banks of the Maruia River where we were able to see the falls as you see pictured at the top of this page.

With the gray and overcast conditions, the falls actually blended in with the rest of the sky.

Maruia_Falls_015_12302009 - Looking towards the Maruia Falls with someone standing at the top of the waterfall for a sense of scale
Looking towards the Maruia Falls with someone standing at the top of the waterfall for a sense of scale

So while our photos weren’t remarkable under such conditions, we did notice a handful of people who did some off trail scrambling to get up to the very brink of the Maruia Falls.

Thus, they provided a nice contrast to the falls in my photos as well as provide some sense of scale of its overall size.

I did entertain the thought of doing what they did, but I ultimately decided against it.


Maruia Falls resides in the Murchison area near Murchison in the Nelson/Tasman 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.

Maruia_Falls_001_12302009 - View over the top of Maruia Falls from the upper viewing deck
Maruia_Falls_006_12302009 - Walking on the short path leading to the base of Maruia Falls (or at least the banks of the Maruia River)
Maruia_Falls_029_12302009 - A bright, broad, and more focused long exposed look at Maruia Falls from the banks of the Maruia River
Maruia_Falls_031_12302009 - On the shores of the Maruia River looking towards Maruia Falls
Maruia_Falls_036_12302009 - Another look at the Maruia Falls just as the sun momentarily broke through the clouds and lit up the waterfall
Maruia_Falls_048_12302009 - On the way back up to the car park, we got this partial side view of Maruia Falls
Maruia_Falls_002_jx_12302009 - Julie noticed these attractive flowers blooming alongside the short trail around the Maruia Falls
Maruia_Falls_003_jx_12302009 - Another close-up look at these attractive white flowers next to the short track by the Maruia Falls
Maruia_Falls_009_jx_12302009 - Julie also noticed these olive-looking things growing alongside the short track leading to the bottom of Maruia Falls

To reach Maruia Falls, we’ll pick up the driving directions from Westport since that was where we started our drive.

From the SH6 and SH67 junction in Westport, we drove on SH6 for about 80km east to its junction with SH65 in the Buller Gorge near Murchison.

We then headed south on SH65 for just under 11km to the well-signed car park on our right.

Going in the other direction, the signed car park for Maruia Falls would be on the left of the road heading north on SH65 about 65km north of Springs Junction.

See the Five Mile Creek Falls page for directions on getting to Springs Junction from Christchurch or Greymouth.

Find A Place To Stay

Left to right sweep from the bottom of the falls along the Maruia River

Short bottom up sweep from the shores of the Maruia River just downstream of the falls

Left to right sweep from the overlook at the top of the falls

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Tagged with: buller, west coast, fault, earthquake, south island, new zealand, waterfall, murchison, maruia river

Visitor Comments:

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Beautiful Spot But Can Be Deadly (Maruia Falls) October 2, 2011 11:53 pm by Jordan - I have been to these falls, and witnessed some kayakers going over the falls, which I thought was fool-hardy, but they seemed to do it just fine. It is a beautiful spot. However, just last weekend in the news a man died there after climbing over the safety barriers and then slipped into the water.… ...Read More

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Maruia Falls, West Coast, South Island September 22, 2008 7:42 am by Max Overton - Not high or forceful, but I like it. ...Read More

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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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