The Chasm, New Zealand

The Chasm sounds more daunting than it actually is, as if you’re looking into an abyss. Instead, what you get is an interesting hike in Fiordland National Park, with a few waterfalls added in.

The only issue is that there isn’t really a great way to get any shots of the waterfalls. The picture below can’t even remotely do the waterfall justice, as it is bigger than it appears…but it’s still not amazing. If this waterfall were isolated, I wouldn’t suggest going out of my way to see it. Luckily, other falls such as Christie Falls, are right nearby.

Directions:

  1. From Te Anau, head north on NZ-94. You will drive most of the way to Milford Sound, 109 km from Te Anau.  (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. The Chasm trail is clearly signed along the road. The short hike then leads to the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 25′ (?) – difficult to tell
Length of Hike: 0.25 miles round-trip

dsc_2033

The Chasm in May 2011

Where in the World in The Chasm?

Advertisements

Bowen Falls, New Zealand

Bowen Falls in May 2011

Milford Sound is one of my favorite places on the planet. There’s something wildly spectacular about seeing peaks rise 1 mile from the sea level. And the waterfalls that you’ll see are equally as spectacular.

Two of the falls in the sound are considered to be year-round, Stirling Falls and Bowen Falls (sometimes called Lady Bowen Falls). At 530′, Bowen Falls is breathtaking. You can get hints of the falls by exploring the trails west of the parking area, but your best views are by boat! It’s definitely worth every cent you spend. You will pass by Bowen Falls on your way out, and you’ll get an even better view coming back to the dock. During the cruise, you’ll likely see dolphins and seals. The sun may appear and disappear consistently throughout the two hours on the cruise. This can lead to a number of different photographic opportunities. (And you will want to dress warmly. In early May, it was chilly at times.)

From what I understand, there used to be a trail that led directly the base of the falls, but it has been closed for some time due to rock slides.

Directions:

  1. From Te Anau, head north on NZ-94 to its very end at Milford Sound.  (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. At Milford Sound, park, head to the cruise area and board your cruise.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 528′
Length of Hike: not applicable

Where in the World in Bowen Falls?

Milford Sound Waterfalls, New Zealand

One of the waterfalls in Milford Sound (May 2011)

Up until this point, I haven’t listed these waterfalls on any list, and I’m not sure why. When you visit Milford Sound, which you should do sometime in your life, you should take a 2 hour cruise through the sound. You’ll see wildlife, stunning views, and a significant number of waterfalls. Many of them show up only after it rains, while others are more consistent. You can check out the ones that have been clearly named, such as Bowen, Bridal Veil, Fairy, Palisade, and Stirling Falls. And yet, there are a number of other waterfalls that seem to last longer that haven’t been named, or if they have been named, there names haven’t been advertised very well.

So I’ve decided to include them, since they are in such a beautiful place, and are equally as scenic as some of the named falls. There’s not a whole lot of description required. I’m a really bad judge of height, but each of these is in the hundreds of feet tall! If you take the cruise, you’ll see eight or nine falls during sunny periods, and I’ve heard it increases even more so while raining. It’s a reason to take a cruise while raining!

Directions:

  1. From Te Anau, head north on NZ-94 to its very end at Milford Sound.  (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. At Milford Sound, park, head to the cruise area and board your cruise.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: ~100-200′
Length of Hike: not applicable

Another ephemeral waterfall

Another one!

Where in the World are the Waterfalls of Milford Sound?

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?