Hiking to Whispering Falls, Nelson

If you’re looking for an escape from the city and love waterfalls as much as I do, you should consider at trip to Whispering Falls. It’s located in Mount Richmond Forest Park in the Aniseed Valley (40 minutes’ drive from Nelson) and takes around an hour (one way) to walk to. Obviously with a name like Whispering Falls you shouldn’t be expecting anything too thunderous, but it’s a cool thing to see and the walk to get there is a large part of its charm.

Hiking to Whispering Falls

It had rained heavily in Nelson in the days leading up to my trip to Whispering Falls. I figured it’d be a good time to see it (everyone knows heavy rain = good waterfalls) and so I set off on the sodden track. The first part of the track takes you through a forestry area and is fairly nondescript. It eventually opens out into some nice views of the river. The track hugs the river for a while and there were a couple of slips along the way – watch your footing and wear good shoes if you’re doing this walk after heavy rain.

READ MORE: Check out Whiskey Falls, another waterfall close to Nelson

The track to Whispering Falls, Nelson, New ZealandA view of the river on the hike to Whispering Falls, Nelson, New Zealand

I’d passed (and been passed by) a couple of other hikers along the way and I saw them again as I reached the edge of the swollen river. The rest of the track to Whispering Falls sits on the other side and the bridge had long since been washed away. I got talking to my fellow hikers, Michelle and Deb, and we decided the river was a bit high to cross. I joined them on another track, which led up to Hacket Hut.

A view on the way to Hacket Hut, Mount Richmond Forest Park, Nelson, New Zealand

We made it back around an hour later and decided to cross. It was about shin height and moving swiftly – if I was on my own I would have retreated to my car in frustration! The river is usually easy to cross (you shouldn’t even need to get your feet wet) – obviously crossing when the river is high is at your own risk and I’m not recommending you do it.

Whispering Falls

We made it across safely and soon arrived at Whispering Falls. My plan of seeing Whispering Falls after rain, where I hoped it would be shouting rather than whispering, didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. The water streaming down was very faint and not at all what I was expecting. It’s still pretty though and is far different to any other waterfall I’ve seen in New Zealand. It’s around 40 metres high and the rock face the water falls down has some interesting colours and textures. That spot, combined with the adventurous journey to get there, made it a memorable walk. I also made some new friends and did the Cable Bay Walkway with them the next week.

READ MORE: 17 of the Best Things to Do in Nelson: Beaches, Hikes, Day Trips and More!

Whispering Falls, Nelson, New ZealandWhispering Falls, Nelson, New Zealand

Getting There

From Nelson, head to Aniseed Valley Road (near the township of Hope) and keep driving until you see the car park (I used Google Maps and it was easy to find). The track to Whispering Falls would be easy enough in dryer conditions. You can also walk to Hacket Hut and Browning Hut if you’re up for a longer walk.

Are you planning a trip to New Zealand? Check out our two-week South Island itinerary and our South Island Travel Guide!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who has just returned home after 6 years abroad. Join me as I see as much of the South Island as I can.
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