Twin Creek Falls and Reid Falls

Arthur's Pass National Park, South Island, New Zealand

About Twin Creek Falls and Reid Falls

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

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

Waterfall Latitude: -42.91209
Waterfall Longitude: 171.56553

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Twin Creek Falls and Reid Falls were a pair of waterfalls in and around the Otira Viaduct.

The viaduct was a cantilevered (elevated) highway officially opened in 1999 that was born out of necessity as an improvement on the driving route between Christchurch and Greymouth via Arthur’s Pass.

Arthurs_Pass_035_11212004 - Twin Creek Falls
Twin Creek Falls

I kind of viewed these waterfalls as notable side attractions while traversing this feat of engineering.

Reid Falls and the Otira Viaduct

This route originally was utilized to significantly cut the distance and time of traversing the Southern Alps between the South Island’s east and west coasts.

Given the steepness of the Otira Valley, that original route suffered from persistent rockfall hazards as well as siltation buildup from the Otira River as the twisty and narrow mountain road was prone to closures.

This was further exacerbated by the fact that this valley was also seismically active as well as prone to severe winter weather.

Arthurs_Pass_020_11212004 - Reid Falls caused by rockfall shelters protecting the Arthur's Pass Highway
Reid Falls caused by rockfall shelters protecting the Arthur’s Pass Highway

After the 440m viaduct was opened, there were no longer vehicle length restrictions as the road was straightened out and buffered from the natural obstacles that once plagued the old road.

However, a couple of years later, SH73 was further widened and protected with rock shelters and chutes just north of the cantilevered viaduct at the Reid Falls.

That waterfall posed an erosion hazard so the chute diverted the natural flow of the falls away from the cliff to drop safely downslope of the highway.

Just south of this modification to the highway was a lookout that allowed Julie and I to look back at the engineering work on display here.

Arthurs_Pass_026_11212004 - Looking back at the Otira Viaduct between Reid Falls and Twin Creek Falls
Looking back at the Otira Viaduct between Reid Falls and Twin Creek Falls

A short distance south of Reid Falls was the elevated Otira Viaduct where after crossing over this section, there was another lookout that allowed us a look back at this piece of engineering.

Twin Creek Falls

Not long after the end of the viaduct, Julie and I noticed the impressive 115m Twin Creek Falls, which we spotted right from SH73.

Even though we got the view you see at the top of this page from right off the highway, we didn’t do any of the walks (e.g. the Dobson Nature Walk or Temple Basin Walk) that might have gotten us a closer look.

Thus, we had to contend with annoying power lines running across our line of sight.

Arthurs_Pass_037_11212004 - Context of a bridge fronting Twin Creek Falls, which suggested that there might be a track that would have brought us closer to this waterfall
Context of a bridge fronting Twin Creek Falls, which suggested that there might be a track that would have brought us closer to this waterfall

Both Twin Creek Falls and Reid Falls were really our waterfalling excuses to take a closer look at the Otira Viaduct as well as have a greater appreciation of how difficult a problem it was to overcome and make this a key supply route.

As such, we treated the falls as if they were roadside stops, but I wondered if Twin Creek Falls would have had its own car park and signage had it not been overshadowed by the likes of Devils Punchbowl Falls nearby.


Twin Creek Falls and Reid Falls reside in Arthur’s Pass National Park near Arthur’s Pass in the Canterbury region of South Island, New Zealand. They are administered under the jurisdiction of the Department of Conservation. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Arthurs_Pass_004_11212004 - Driving along the Arthur's Pass Highway (SH73) as we were leaving the Kumara Junction
Arthurs_Pass_009_11212004 - Driving along the Arthur's Pass Highway (SH73) as we were headed towards Otira
Arthurs_Pass_012_11212004 - Driving alongside a very long train as we were making our way towards Otira and Arthur's Pass
Arthurs_Pass_025_11212004 - Our first encounter with these cheeky keas ('KEE-uhs') occurred at the Otira Viaduct. We'd quickly come to learn that these parrot-like native birds of New Zealand loved ripping at the weather strippings of the car, peck at tyres, or even aggressively try to pilfer food from unsuspecting people. They even made a really shrill cry, which came to be a real annoyance when trying to sleep on overnight tramps like the Milford Track
Arthurs_Pass_031_11212004 - Angled contextual view of Twin Creek Falls seen from SH73
Arthurs_Pass_033_11212004 - Our most direct view of Twin Creek Falls while being criss-crossed by annoying power lines as seen from SH73
Arthurs_Pass_042_11212004 - Approaching the chutes for both Reid Falls and a rockfall-prone section as we drove back north along SH73 bound for Hokitika later in the day
Arthurs_Pass_043_11212004 - Getting even closer to the underside of Reid Falls

From the Kumara Junction (between SH6 and SH73; also 7km west of Kumara), we drove about 70km along SH73 due southeast towards Arthur’s Pass before reaching the Reid Falls Lookout at the so-called “Candy’s Bend.”

After driving beneath both a rock chute as well as the chute diverting Reid Falls, we stopped the car at the car park for the lookout to our right just as the road bent.

About 500m further south of the Reid Falls Lookout was the Otira Viaduct Lookout, which also had a car park and lookout shortly after traversing the elevated highway.

Finally, roughly 2.7km south of the Otira Viaduct Lookout was the car park for the Dobson Nature Walk and Temple Basin Track on the east side of the highway.

This was where we stopped the car and got our roadside views of Twin Creek Falls though we probably should have done the 20-minute hike to at least get a closer and more satisfying view.

For context from Christchurch, Kumara was about 3 hours drive (219km) to the northwest along mostly SH73 passing through Arthur’s Pass National Park en route.

Find A Place To Stay

Related Top 10 Lists

No Posts Found

Tagged with: otira viaduct, arthurs pass, candys bend, greymouth, hokitika, christchurch, southern alps, canterbury, south island, new zealand, waterfall, reid falls, twin creek, temple basin, dobson

Visitor Comments:

Got something you'd like to share or say to keep the conversation going? Feel free to leave a comment below...

No users have replied to the content on this page

Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

If you have a waterfall story or write-up that you'd like to share, feel free to click the button below and fill out the form...

No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall

Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls

The Waterfaller Newsletter

The Waterfaller Newsletter is where we curate the wealth of information on the World of Waterfalls website and deliver it to you in bite-sized chunks in your email inbox. You'll also get exclusive content like...

  • Waterfall Wednesdays
  • Insider Tips
  • User-submitted Waterfall Write-up of the Month
  • and the latest news and updates both within the website as well as around the wonderful world of waterfalls

How To Build A Profitable Travel Blog In 4 Steps

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.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.