From cascading tropical rivers to tumbling icy meltwater, go beyond New Zealand’s traditional holiday highlights and bag ringside seats at one of nature's most spectacular performances - the Waterfall.
From the awe-inspiring Huka (New Zealand's largest volume falls) to the spectacular sprays of Fiordland National Park, this country is home to some of the best and most unusual bodies of water in the Southern Hemisphere. So if you’re looking for a little variation on your trip down under, this one's for you.
Beginning in the north the first - and by far the most spectacular - is the aforementioned
The Huka, meaning ‘foam’ in Maori, while reasonably low in height at just 11 metres, channels over 200,000 litres of water through its narrow 15 metre chute making for a visual feast of rushing white water and roiling rapids. Descending to a crystal clear blue pool it is named New Zealand's highest volume falls is are located in Taupo - part of the Central North Island Volcanic Plateau - and regularly attempted by daredevil kayakers.
Still within the volcanic region,
A small and unassuming at only two metres high. However, its charm quickly becomes evident by the steam rising lazily from its pools. A thermal waterfall, Kerosene Creek is heated by hot water bubbling up from the ground mixed with cool spring-water to create a luxurious natural spa. Surrounded by green mossy rocks, native bush and birdsong, this hidden gem is a must-do to work out the kinks of your day. Don't forget your towel!
Onwards to Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’ and home to over 800 national parks with an abundance of waterfalls. One notable example is the
Located within the Waitakere Ranges, just west of the city centre. Near Karekare Village, the filming location for the Oscar Award winning movie ‘The Piano,’ these falls are 30 metres high and nestled inside a small clearing. Sheets of water split into ribbons halfway down its volcanic face, making for an interesting and beautiful experience.
Travelling south through Fiordland National Park,
Located in Milford Sound they are the highest permanent falls in the sounds, and one of the most photographed in New Zealand. Accessible only by boat since the walking track was deemed unsafe, this misting spray is 162 metres high and plunges out over a sheer cliff face. While spectacular on a normal day, these falls are mind-blowing after a rain when they triple in volume.
Continuing down the country, Catlins National Park is home to our final must-see waterfall
With a beautiful forest walk through podocarp and silver beech to the waterfall viewing platform, this body of water is truly a hidden gem. Tumbling over three tiers of rock these falls are not particularly high or dramatic - more like a gentle (but supremely picturesque) water feature in middle of the bush.
Be it a thundering torrent or a relaxing thermal attraction, New Zealand's waterfalls are worth a visit. Talk to one of our Pure Journeys travel specialists today to plan a waterfall visit on your New Zealand self drive tour.
- Walking, Hiking & Biking
- Family Holidays
- National Parks & Wildlife
Written by: David Kettle