Humboldt Falls, one of New Zealand’s tallest waterfalls, makes for an easy side-trip while driving to Milford Sound. It’s located down a 17 km gravel road (Hollyford Road) and there are a few other places to see along the way. Humboldt Falls crashes 275 metres to the valley below — you can’t get all that close to it but it’s definitely worth tackling the short bush walk to get there.
This track to Humboldt Falls takes you through lush forest and is fairly easy to negotiate. Before long you’ll reach the viewpoint looking out towards the falls. It’s a very zoomed out view, allowing you to see the surrounding hills blanketed in native forest. There’s not really much else to do there, or any other angles you can see it at, so it becomes a pretty short visit. That view is definitely worth the detour though.
Make sure to stop off at Moraine Creek on the way back to the main road. There’s a really cool bridge to walk over and the creek is a striking blue / green colour. A longer hike starts here — we haven’t done it yet but I’ve heard it’s pretty hard.
An Historic Grave
Another nice place to stop on the gravel road to Humboldt Falls is the historic grave of Donald Keith, a Scotsman who went missing and died here in 1886. The grave is beside a small forest path and is close to the river — not a bad place to be buried!
Lake Marian / Marian Falls
The track to Lake Marian and Marian Falls is at the very start of Hollyford Road. It’s one of the best hikes in the area and generally takes 3-4 hours. If you’re short on time you can just hike to the falls, which takes around 15 minutes each way. Check out my post below for more information about this hike.
There are a few other things to see on this road, including the quirky Gunn’s Camp and some other walks. The Hollyford Track starts at the end of the road and you also do the 4-6 hour hidden waterfall hike. We were very close to hiking that track but we ran out of time.
Getting to Humboldt Falls
The turnoff to the falls is located 87 km along the Te Anau to Milford Sound Road. Hollyford Road is in great condition for a gravel road and shouldn’t pose too many problems. There is a lot to see along the road to Milford Sound — check out my other posts for more info!
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