Devil's Punchbowl Falls, Arthur's Pass
Waterfall Seasons of Canterbury, New Zealand - The Waterfall Guide

 
Devils Punchbowl Falls is one of the main tourist attractions in Arthur's Pass. At 130 metres high, with a clear view of the full length of the falls from the viewing platform, it's easy to see why. Water squirts out through an elevated narrow gorge at the top of the falls and drops into a small pool down below. The pouring of the "punch" is easy to see, but the circular pool or "punchbowl" is hidden behind a mound of boulders that block its view from the platform. A glimpse of Devil's Punchbowl falls from the walking trail Above: A glimpse of Devil's Punchbowl falls from the walking trail (Order gifts or prints of this image)

The walk to the falls is relatively short but quite steep and varied. It starts with a flat walk across the bridge over the Bealey River, followed by a narrower and higher suspension bridge across Devil's Punchbowl Creek.
From there the walk heads uphill through a lush beech forest with amber mosses hanging suspended from the branches. There are numerous steps that will test your fitness before the track returns to gently undulating as you near the falls. Devil's Punchbowl Falls in winter Above: Devil's Punchbowl Falls in winter (Order gifts or prints of this image)

There was no obvious track to venture to the base of the falls, however having only visited in winter, the rocks were icy and it would have been risky to attempt walking along the creek bed. I have seen a NZ government tourism photo of someone walking up to the punchbowl in warmer weather, which suggests that it is possible.
Your Seasonal Guide:
Best Time of Year to Visit:Best Time of Day to Visit:
Streamflow data is not locally available for this river, but based on available rainfall information, there is likely to be reliable flow over the falls all year round, with flows evenly spread throughout the year. Visit from mid-morning onwards to see the falls in full sun without it blinding your eyes or putting the falls in shadow.
Other Essential Information:
Location: Punchbowl Road, opposite 100 West Coast Road (State Highway 73), Arthur's Pass National Park, Arthurs Pass, 150 km (approx. 2 hour drive) north west of the Christchurch city centre.
Latitude:-42.935270 Longitude:171.560583
Getting there: From Christchurch head along the State Highway 73 through Sheffield and Springfield up to Arthur's Pass. In Arthur's Pass, after passing the shops in the main street, turn right down Punchbowl Road on the northern side of town. The car park for the walk to the falls is about 150 metres from the highway. From the car park, follow the 900 metre, steep walking trail up the hill to the falls.
Water source: Devils Punchbowl Creek
Approx. height: 131 metres (source: NZ Dept of Conservation).
Approx. width: 5-10 metres
Approx. length: Near vertical drop
Swimming available at the falls: There is a small pool at the base of the falls, but you need to scramble up the creek bed to reach it. There is no formal access track to this small pool.
Facilities: A viewing platform at the falls and a car park at the start of the walking trail. No other facilities, so take your rubbish home with you.
Entrance fee: None
Opening times: Always open
Sun shade: There are several open and exposed areas on the walk to the falls, and the viewing platform has limited to no shade, depending on time of day.
Wheelchair access: None
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No dogs. No going near cliff edges.
Accommodation options: Camping is available for a nominal fee at the Avalanche Creek Shelter campsite, which is about 500 metres south of Punchbowl Road, between the visitor centre and the chapel. There are only ten tent sites available here. There are a few other campsites a few kilometres outside of town at Greyneys Shelter and Klondyke Corner, which also have only a limited number of spots. All campsites are first in, first served, and you pay on arrival at the self-registration stand. If you are staying overnight in the area and don't want to camp, you can try accommodation in Arthur's Pass. I stayed at the Arthur's Pass Alpine Motel as a paying guest and found it to be warm and comfortable, with friendly and helpful hosts.
Managing authority: NZ Department of Conservation
Nearby attractions: Bridal Veil Falls, which is also accessible from the car park, and Avalanche Creek Falls, back in town, roughly 500 metres south of Punchbowl Road
Before you head out, make sure you read the waterfall safety information.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the start of the trail to the falls.
Change of Conditions:
I am not currently aware of any change of conditions reported at this site by the managing authority, or by visitors to this website. If you are visiting this waterfall and have any further updates on any change of conditions, let me know via the comment form below.
Comments:
If you would like to leave a comment about this waterfall, please fill in the comment box below. I'm particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc. Make sure you let me know whether you consent to having your comments published on this website.

Your name:

Your email:

From (city, country):

Your comment:

I consent to having these comments published on this website



© Brad Neal 2017. All rights reserved. This work is not to be sampled, copied, modified, adapted or reused for commercial purposes without the written consent of the author.