Fiordland National Park is the place to go for waterfalls in New Zealand – it is one of the wettest (in terms of rainfall) regions in the world after all! But where are the best waterfalls in Fiordland National Parks? Which ones should you try and see? Which ones are hidden away on Great Walks? You’re about to find out!
The Best Waterfalls in Fiordland National Park
I’m going to start with the waterfalls which are easy to visit. You’ll see these around Milford Sound as well as the road leading to it from Te Anau.
This is the waterfall you can see from the foreshore area at Milford Sound – you’ll also cruise past it if you do a boat trip. I’ve also heard you can reach it by boat from the foreshore for a small cost – it was shut when we were there though (you can’t walk there).
Stirling Falls is seen on the Milford Sound cruise. I’d recommend this boat trip as it’s fairly cheap and is a great way to see the wonders of Fiordland National Park. The boat even parks up close to Stirling Falls – wear a jacket if you don’t want to get wet!
Lake Marian Falls
This is more like an impressive set of rapids rather than a waterfall, and it’s definitely worth the hike to get there. It’s on the way to Lake Marian – if you’re looking for an awesome day walk in Fiordland National Park this is a great option.
Located at the end of the Lower Hollyford Road, Humboldt Falls is massive and easy to visit. There’s a viewpoint at the end of a short forest track, but it’s still far off in the distance.
Gertrude Valley Falls
If you decide to tackle the Gertrude Saddle Track (not the easiest or safest walk around) then you’ll see this waterfall while walking up the hill to Black Lake. Such a cool waterfall to walk by (no idea of it’s actual name though). I’m not sure if it’s permeant or not, but hopefully it is!
The Chasm is easily reached (a very short walk from the car park) and is impressive in its own way (more of a set of rapids though).
Harder to Reach Fiordland Waterfalls
These waterfalls are found on Great Walks (as well as the Doubtful Sound Cruise), making them far harder to visit than the others. I’m sure there are also heaps of other waterfalls around Fiordland that are even harder / impossible to visit – it’s a massive place after all and the part where people can go is relatively small.
Waterfalls at Doubtful Sound
The Doubtful Sound cruise is one of the best Fiordland National Park experiences. It’s similar to the Milford Sound cruise but longer and far more off the beaten path. You’ll see plenty of waterfalls while cruising Doubtful Sound (and on the drive there) – some permanent and some that only come out after rain.
Iris Burn Falls
One of the highlights of the Kepler Track, Iris Burn Falls is also a good place to spot the elusive blue duck (whio). Iris Burn Hut is nearby, so this could be a good place for a swim if it’s warm enough.
Earland Falls is on the Routeburn Track, but since it’s close to the end (or start) of the track you can see it on a day walk. We did this, including the trip up to Key Summit, a few years before we did the Routeburn Track and I reckon it’s a good day walk option.
The tallest waterfall in New Zealand, Sutherland Falls is viewed either on the Milford Track or on a scenic helicopter flight. The photos I’ve seen from flights look amazing – probably the scenic flight we’d most like to do (so expensive though!).
MacKay Falls is another waterfall on the Milford Track – probably the most picturesque spot on the fourth and last day. There are heaps of other waterfalls scattered around the Milford Track too, and when it rains dozens of temporary ones abound.
Temporary Waterfalls in Fiordland
The road to Milford Sound features heaps of waterfalls, some permanent but must of them come out after a bit of rain. It’s the same for the sound itself – it seems like one of the few scenic places in New Zealand that is more impressive after rain (and it rains a lot in Fiordland). You’ll also see lots of temporary waterfalls on the Great Walks (the photo below is from the Milford Track).
Other Waterfalls in Fiordland National Park
There are heaps of other waterfalls in Fiordland National Park and you’d never be able to count them all. Some are hidden away, and some you can see from the road to Milford Sound. I’ve heard Falls Creek Falls is quite good (apparently you can see it from the road, can’t remember seeing it though) and I’m sure there are waterfalls on some of the other multiday walks in the area. But I reckon if you can see all the waterfalls I’ve listed above you’ll be more than happy with your Fiordland waterfall experience!
Are you planning a trip to Fiordland National Park? Let us know in the comments below!
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