Bridal Veil Falls is aptly named, with a flowing white cascade that wraps around dark rock outcrops, and then falls in a light curtain down into the
depths of the forest. In winter, the falls are fringed with white ice, which adds to the falls' contrast with the darkness of the surrounding bush.
Above: Bridal Veil Falls from the lookout on the Arthur's Pass Walking Track
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The lookout for viewing the falls is along the Arthur's Pass Walking Track, mid-way between the Devil's Punchbowl car park and the Jack's Hut car park.
The lookout is elevated, with an uninterrupted view of the falls, but at a distance of over 500 metres.
There is no walking trail closer to the falls, so make sure you bring a pair of binoculars or a telephoto lens to get a closer view from the lookout.
Above: An icy cascade near Bridal Veil Falls along the Arthur's Pass Walking Track
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Fortunately, there are pretty cascades on the two creek crossings between the lookout and the Devil's Punchbowl car park. The second of these, on Bridal
Veil Creek, shows the bottom tier of a 60 metre drop that is otherwise obscured by the thick forest. The walk itself is undulating and reasonably dry under
foot, with pedestrian bridges across all of the creek crossings.
Your Seasonal Guide:
|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 midday onwards to see the bridal veil illuminated by the sun.|
Other Essential Information:
Accessible from 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.
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 track, turning left at the signpost after crossing the Bealey River. It's about 1 km
to the lookout.
Bridal Veil Creek
108 metres (source: NZ Dept of Conservation)
Near vertical drop after an initial cascade
Swimming available at the falls:
None. You can put your feet in the water at the Bridal Veil Creek crossing, but
it is not deep enough for a swim.
A single picnic table at the lookout. Car park at the start of the walking trail. No other facilities, so
take your rubbish home with you.
No shade at the lookout. The walk through the forest is mostly shaded, but sections of the walking trail have no shade.
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
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.
NZ Department of Conservation
Devil's Punchbowl 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
The marker indicates the approximate location of the start of the trail to the falls.
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© Brad Neal 2019. All rights reserved.