Waterfalls in New Zealand
Waterfall Seasons - The Waterfall Guide
This seasonal guide to waterfalls in Northern Zealand recommends the best time of year and the best time of day to visit each waterfall using hydrologic knowledge to get the most out of your visit. It ensures you have the best chance of seeing water flowing over the falls in full sun. Compiled by hydrologist Brad Neal, the guide also includes information about how to get there, facilities available, viewing angles, waterfall dimensions, swimming opportunities, a photo/video and my personal impressions. This website only includes waterfalls that I have personally visited and photographed, which in New Zealand at the current time consists of waterfalls in the Cantebury Region of the South Island.
Select Your Waterfall:
Click on each waterfall title or picture to find your next day trip, holiday destination, bushwalk, photo shoot or picnic location. Acland Falls is a lush grotto on a little creek in the midst of the Peel Forest. The walk is short but steep, and you will be rewarded with an up close view of the falls that allows you to peer into the forest understorey to try and find its origins… Avalanche Creek Falls is only a few minute walk from the tourist centre on the main road in Arthur's Pass. You can view the falls by day, or bring a torch to guide your way along the forest path to the viewing platform by night, when the falls are lit up by a single large spotlight… White water wraps around a rock outcrop and then flows down in a curtain in a shape similar to a bridal veil. However, like watching a wedding from the back row of a grand cathedral, the view from the lookout is elusive because of the several hundred metre distance to the falls… One of the main tourist attractions in Arthur's Pass, this 130 metre drop from an elevated narrow gorge is an impressive site from the viewing platform that straddles the creek below. Includes a walk across a suspension bridge, through an ancient forest with views across to snow capped mountains… Visible from the highway across an open and exposed rocky and tussocky valley floor, this waterfall of more than 100 metres in height is less frequently visited, and more difficult to access than Devil's Punchbowl…

If you are planning a visit to New Zealand, be mindful of the variable topography and climate. Waterfalls in New Zealand are mostly located along the ridge of mountains that run along the spine of the country. On the south island, rainfall is highly reliable, with snow melt also feeding some waterfalls throughout the summer period. In wet weather in winter, there are a number of driving hazards including falling rocks, landslips, black ice and sleet/snow, particularly at higher altitudes. Having said that, in fair weather in winter the roads have been readily navigable on my previous trips around New Zealand, with road closures well signposted. In summer, some waterfalls can dry up, particularly on the north island.

© 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.