Christie Falls, New Zealand

Christie Falls in May 2011

Fiordland National Park is probably one of my favorite places on the planet. There is something stunningly beautiful about the region! I honestly cannot wait to go back and visit New Zealand sometime, and I recommend that anyone that visits go to see at least part of Fiordland.

Milford Sound is not to be missed, and about 17 miles outside of Milford Sound is this impressive waterfall, Christie Falls. Because there are so many other impressive and tall waterfalls in the area, this sometimes gets left behind, but it shouldn’t be. It’s extremely scenic, and adds a little bit of variety to the waterfalls you’ll likely see along the way. Humboldt Falls, for example, is much taller, but is also thinner (or maybe it just seems like it from afar!). Christie Falls has its own unique character. It’s also pretty easy to visit, found directly off of NZ-94. You’ll already be on the road to Milford Sound, so why not stop?! And if you miss it on the way there, you should be able to see it on the return.

Directions:

  1. From Te Anau, head north on NZ-94. You will drive most of the way to Milford Sound, but about 17 miles (28 km) outside of Milford Sound, you will find Christie Falls.  (From mid-May to October, you may want to check to make sure that the road is open to Milford Sound…It can close randomly, or snow chains may also be required.)
  2. There is a vehicle pullout near the falls, and you can then get a better view.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 50′
Length of Hike: roadside

Where in the World in Christie Falls?

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.

Directions:

  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?