Humboldt Falls, New Zealand

Humboldt Falls in May 2011

The first waterfall I visited after arriving in New Zealand was Humboldt Falls.  I was unsure how the drive to the falls was going to go.  Unlike many of the other waterfalls in the area, Humboldt Falls is not as easily visited.  If you are headed to Milford Sound, you will need to have your own car to get there.  It requires a drive down an unpaved road for about 18 km (12 miles), though the road is very passable.

The drive is the long part.  Once you’re at the parking area, it’s a 15 minute hike to the falls.  It is a steady uphill climb, though luckily it’s not very long.  At the end, you’ll reach a viewpoint.  There is the major waterfall, Humboldt Falls, just reaching 900′ tall.  It’s impressive.  A portion of the falls can’t be seen, as it’s blocked by trees.  There is another waterfall to the right of Humboldt Falls, at about half of the height.  To the left, there is a wisp of a waterfall that I have seen in other pictures.  All three falls add up for a very cool scene.  The best part about the falls is that it’s likely there won’t be anyone else there!!!!  I visited in mid-May (late fall), and there was no one else there.  Just a few miles further in Milford Sound, there were still a lot of visitors, so you’ll have peace and quiet here.


  1. From Te Anau, head west on SR-94 (or head east from Milford Sound).  The turnoff for the falls is much closer to Milford Sound, but if you’re driving from Te Anau and you’ve reached the Homer Tunnel you’ve gone just a few miles too far.
  2. Heading west, you’ll come upon Lower Hollyford Road.  There’s a big sign there indicating the road, and if you read it closely enough, you’ll see it says 18 km to Humboldt Falls.  There’s no other option, but to turn right here and head 18 km to the parking area.
  3. Right across from the toilets, you’ll find the trail head to the falls.  From there, it’s only 15 minutes to the falls.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)

Height: 902′

Length of Hike: 0.75 miles round-trip

Waterfall to the right of Humboldt Falls

Where in the World is Humboldt Falls?


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