Top 4-day trips for chasing waterfalls
30 Apr 2019
If you’re looking to chase waterfalls, then Fiordland is the right place. Described as one of the wettest areas on earth, Fiordland has an abundance of waterfalls as unique as the landscapes that surround them.
Here’s our top 4-day trip ideas that will take you to some majestic waterfalls with a variety of experiences and scenery along the way.
1. Giant Gate Waterfalls - Milford Track
The journey to the iconic Giant Gate waterfalls is a fantastic half-day hike option that lets you explore a stunning section of a New Zealand Great Walk along the Milford Track.
This magnificent World Heritage area is best explored by foot and is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, so you don’t need to be an advanced hiker. There are some areas where terrain is rocky so wet weather makes it more challenging – with the possibility of encountering puddles or streams along the way.
Dubbed as one of the ‘finest walks in the world,’ this 11 km return walk takes approximately 4 hours from start to finish. Enjoy a variety of scenes starting with a water taxi across Deep Water Basin to Sandfly Point, traverse beneath ancient canopy trees, hear native birdsong within the lush green forest and view the beauty of the 30-metre-tall Giant Gate Falls from a picturesque swing bridge spanning the river.
2. Earland Falls - Routeburn Track
One of the most impressive waterfalls in Fiordland, Earland Falls stands 174-metre-tall and is located along the popular Routeburn Track – another New Zealand Great Walk in Fiordland National Park.
Departing from the main highway from the Divide shelter (about an hour’s drive from Te Anau on State Highway 94 towards Milford Sound), the 8 km return walk to Earland Falls is an incredible day walk (allow 6 hours) that’s got so much magic in mix: from dramatic alpine views to lush rainforest scenes, it should definitely be on the top of your list if you just have one day.
You can’t miss Earland Falls because it literally drops onto the track – so be prepared to take it all in and enjoy a natural shower.
3. Hidden Falls - Hollyford Track
When you’ve only got one day in Fiordland to chase waterfalls, Hidden Falls along the Hollyford Track is a great choice for those wanting to find an off the beaten track gem. It’s available all year round, easily accessible and a low-cost option for a priceless experience.
Hidden Falls is 31-metre-tall plunge waterfall that’s located a few minutes’ walk from Hidden Falls Hut on the Hollyford Track. The trail to Hidden Falls has no major climbs, but 18 km return in length, so recommended for those with average fitness levels and hiking experience.
You’ll be able to see hear Hidden Falls before you see it when you reach the base – and then low and behold – take in all its glory with the moody mist above pristine waters, the lush green against the sleek granite face - it’s all a bit enchanting really.
4. Milford Sound Road
Whether you choose a coach and cruise option or self-drive, the wondrous waterfalls along Milford Sound road makes the drive down to Milford Sound as rewarding as the destination.
Milford Sound road puts on an incredible show after it rains – with so many temporary waterfalls that will have you ooh-ing and aah-ing along the way, you’ll get your waterfalls fix for sure. No two days are ever the same after the rain, so you get a unique perspective of these pop-up waterfalls every time you are on Milford Sound road.
No walking is required because Milford Sound road reveals countless waterfalls streaming down the steep faces – particularly from Homer Tunnel down to Milford Sound in the Cleddau Valley and around the fiord (Milford Sound).
Once you’re at Milford Sound and cruising along the water, keep your eyes open for Stirling Falls and Bowen Falls to top of a fantastic day chasing waterfalls.