15 stunning waterfalls in New Zealand

For many travelers, New Zealand is on the other side of the world, synonymous with ruggedness and natural beauty. Known for its world-class accommodation, food and even wine, New Zealand is definitely something to watch for adventurous types who refuse to settle for a bland destination that doesn’t offer everything they’re looking for. Below is a list of 15 stunning waterfalls in New Zealand.

1. Sutherland Falls

Sutherland Falls, New Zealand

New Zealand’s tallest waterfall, Sutherland Falls, rises nearly 2,000 feet above the surrounding landscape.

While some claim there are other higher waterfalls, once you see this natural wonder, you won’t care.

Located in Fiordland National Park on the country’s South Island, the falls can be seen from miles away.

The falling water originates in Lake Guell and flows down three different waterfalls before splashing into the pools below.

If you’re willing to walk a few hours from Milford Track, you can drive or walk to the bottom of the falls.

2. Wyrell Falls

Wyrell Falls, New Zealand

Nearly 500 feet high, Wyrell Falls is the tallest waterfall in the North Island, and it drops steeply in two separate sections or cliffs.

The waterfall is located in the Kaimai Mountains and is accessible via a trail that originates from the Goodwin Road car park.

The trail leads to a man-made viewing area near the top of the falls, where you’ll enjoy stunning views of the falls and the surrounding valley.

There is an interesting plaque at the entrance with a poem about the waterfall you want to see before you go.

3. Huka Falls

Huka Falls, New Zealand

While not high by New Zealand standards, the sheer power of Huka Falls is second to none. The Waikato River, where Huka Falls is located, narrows in front of the falls, creating an area of ​​enormous pressure and current.

Near Taupo on the North Island, river gorges and waterfalls have been dug out of the surrounding sedimentary rock after years of constant blows.

Today, the water flow is controlled by local authorities, and the waterfall is a frequented attraction due to its magnificence and accessibility.

The falls were also notorious for the bodies of national sports heroes found there in the late 80s, exposing a dirty side of the local culture that most people would soon forget.

4. Devil’s Goblet Falls

Devil's Goblet Falls, New Zealand

Devil’s Cup Falls, located in Arthur’s Pass National Park on the South Island, is not named after the actual Devil’s Cup as far as anyone knows.

Considered a national park gem, the falls drop nearly 400 feet in several different streams.

The area’s well-marked and well-maintained trails and bridges will take you through the park and over rivers and streams.

The waterfall is accessible from a trail in the area, which begins at Arthur’s Pass Village. The hike in and out will cover less than a mile and a half and will take you to many scenic spots.

5. Prakaunui Falls

Prakaunui Falls, New Zealand

Located near the Catlins Forest Park, Purakaunui Falls is another popular destination for nature lovers due to its unique layering and ease of transportation. For these reasons and more, it is one of 15 stunning waterfalls in New Zealand.

The falls are approximately equidistant from the towns of Invercargill and Dunedin, and if you want to take a day trip there, each falls about 2 hours away.

Due to its beauty, the image of the waterfall was stamped in the late 70s, and it is just a 15-minute walk from the car park on Purakaunui Falls Road. There are restrooms and picnic tables that come in handy if you want to spend the day.

6. Kite Falls

New Zealand Kite Falls

Also known as Kitakita, Kitakita Falls in Waitakere, Auckland, North Island, has more layers than a gorgeous wedding cake.

Nestled in the scenic Waitakere Ranges, the falls are accessible on foot via a nearby trail and drop nearly 260 feet.

There are multiple pools at the bottom of each section, although not all of them are accessible.

The narrow waterfall and surrounding rocks are almost surrounded by lush vegetation, giving it a pristine feel.

It’s close enough to the popular Piha Beach to make a wonderful day trip from both locations.

7. Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls, New Zealand

If you guessed that Bridal Veil Falls got its name because it looks like a bridal veil, chances are you’re smarter than your average bear.

Located on the Pacoka River near Waikato on the North Island, the waterfall is nearly 200 feet high and has a larger-than-average pool at the bottom.

Located within the Wailinga Scenic Reserve, the geology of the area is characterized by spectacular peaks, canyons and forests.

About 20 minutes from the town of Raglan, a relatively short and easy hike along the riverside trail leads to the falls.

8. Stirling Falls

Stirling Falls, New Zealand

New Zealand is a magnet for nature lovers, artists and photographers, and for good reason.

Another of New Zealand’s most stunning waterfalls is Stirling Falls near Milford Sound on the South Island.

Perhaps the most stunning way to see this striking waterfall is by boat.

One of the most photographed waterfalls in New Zealand, you can get right to the bottom of the falls with one of the many Milford Sound cruise options, some of which include overnight accommodation.

Helicopter tours are also available, although as you might have guessed they are quite expensive.

9. Rayleigh Falls

Lelei Falls, New Zealand

Rere Falls won’t win any awards for its height, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing.

Located about an hour’s drive north and west of Gisborne on the North Island, Rere Falls is approximately 15 feet high and 60 feet wide.

Due to its modest size, the pool at the bottom of the waterfall is a great place to swim safely and also to walk on the ledge behind the falling water.

It’s a great place to have a picnic or read a book, and once you’re full, consider hopping over to Eastwood Hill Botanic Gardens, New Zealand’s official botanical garden, full of beautiful trees, plants and flowers of all kinds.

10. Tawai Waterfall

Tawaii Falls, New Zealand

Located in Tongariro National Park on the North Island, Tawaii Falls is often referred to as Gollum Falls for its cameo appearance in The Lord of the Rings.

The park is also known for its rock formations that resemble the trolls in The Hobbit.

Needless to say, the falls are a must-see for fans of these two masterpieces.

The waterfall and park is about an hour and a half from Taupo town, and while there is ample parking, the park does not offer any other amenities.

11. Thunder Creek Falls

Thunder Creek Falls

Located in Haast Pass on the South Island, Thunder Creek Falls was formed by glaciers of epic proportions that have been hewn out across the landscape over millions of years.

Near the Southern Alps, the falls are near Haast Pass and the town of Wanaka about 60 miles away.

There is a convenient and well-marked parking lot off the Haast Pass highway, which is a short walk to enjoy the views.

Named for the roar of its falling water, the waterfall is tall and narrow and surrounded by dense forest.

12. McLean Falls

McLean Falls, New Zealand

McLean Falls is located near Doubtful Sound on the South Island, close to the Catlins coast, making your time in the area a breeze.

Nestled in the Catlins National Forest on the Tautuku River, this 70-foot waterfall descends from a series of unique terraces that appear to be almost surrounded by the surrounding forest.

The McLean Falls River Walk begins on Rewcastle Road and takes you through the region’s spectacular geography and forests. The hike to the falls takes less than an hour, and the trails are well-marked and well-maintained, as are the bridges that cross creeks and rivers to the falls.

13. Brown Falls

Brown Falls, New Zealand

There seems to be some local debate as to which waterfall in New Zealand is the largest, with many saying it is Brown Falls.

Located above Doubtful Sound in Fiordland National Park, Brown Falls is known for its breadth and height.

Covering a distance of nearly 3,000 feet horizontally, the waterfall drops nearly 2,400 feet from start to finish, making it huge, dramatic, and difficult to see in its entirety.

The water that feeds the falls comes from Brown Lake, and when it fills its capacity, it flows down the rocks below in dramatic fashion.

14. Humboldt Falls

Humboldt Falls, New Zealand

If an hour-long hike won’t stop you from visiting another of New Zealand’s waterfall gems, Humboldt Falls in the Fiordland should be on your to-do list.

The waterfall cascades down a steep rock face in three distinct sections, dropping nearly 800 feet from top to bottom.

Although only visible from man-made viewing structures in the area, after a particularly heavy rain, the falls usually split into two distinct streams.

The trailhead is located near the car park at the end of Hollyford Road.

15. Damping Mountain Waterfall

Damping Mountain Falls, New Zealand

Damping Mountain Falls, located near the town of Taranaki on New Zealand’s North Island, rises over 200 feet and is one of the highest waterfalls on the island.

To get to the falls, you first need to reach the car park near the town of New Plymouth.

From there, a trail runs along the creek, through open fields, and begins to descend to the waterfall’s two viewing decks.

Either way, it’s about a 15-minute walk, and according to Autumn’s website, there are “long drop toilets” just in case. The site doesn’t explain what a long-distance toilet is, but it’s safe to say that if you drop your phone in, you won’t get it back.

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