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Exploring New Zealand


The Thunder Creek Falls cascade down the mountainside

The Haast river flows alongside the South Island's Highway 6 as it traverses the southern alps between Haast and Haast Pass. Rain and melt waters feed the river and provide the fuel that drives various waterfalls and rapids along its course.

Torrent at the base of Thunder Creek Falls

One of these is Thunder Creek falls, located some 55 km east of Haast as you travel down to Wanaka and beyond. It's on the southern side of the road, well signposted and with roadside parking for a few cars. A small track takes you on a short and easy two-minute walk through silver beech forest to a viewing platform opposite where the falls tower over the river.

There you'll find a single cascade dropping water some 28 m or so onto a rocky hollow adjoining the river itself. As you might expect, the ferocity of the waterfall depends on recent weather conditions. Fortunately, dry periods never last too long in this part of New Zealand, so you're pretty much guaranteed a good photo opportunity.

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