Routeburn Falls


Routeburn Falls

Rather impressive cascades than a waterfall, Routeburn Falls is found along the popular Great Walk - Routeburn Track, and it’s a 3.5-hours uphill walk from the Routeburn Shelter.

Driving and walking conditions

GPS of the view point: S 44° 43.563' E 168° 11.915'
Parking: the end of Routeburn Road, Kinloch
Vehicle type: All vehicle types Track type: Multi-days track
Road type:8km Gravel Road Return track duration: 7hrs 

Waterfall parameters

Waterfall height: 176m Type of the waterfall: Segmented

Rating:       ⭐⭐⭐⭐
GPS:          S 44° 43.563' E 168° 11.915'
Parking:     the end of Routeburn Road, Kinloch
Access:     7hrs  return walk

Walking and driving instructions


Routeburn Falls is roughly a 1.5-2 hours’ drive away from Queenstown. The road surface is sealed except for the last 8km which is a gravel road.

From Queenstown travel west on Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd for 43km until you reach Glenorchy. Here turn right into Mull St which becomes Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd and follow it for the next 11km. Turn left into Priory Rd which becomes Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd and follow it for the next 8.5km. Turn right into Routeburn Rd and stay on it for the next 8.3km. The car park is found at the end of this road. The parking is always busy – lots of cars, busses, etc. because one of the most popular Great Walks, Routeburn track, starts here. There are tables, a shelter, and toilets there.

From the carpark follow the well-maintained Great Walk – Routeburn track for 3-3.5 hours. Almost all the way to the waterfall is an uphill walk. In a 1.5 hour or two you will reach Routeburn Flats. In good weather, it's a great place for lunch. From here the real climb starts - follow the main track for an hour or an hour and a half until you reach the Routeburn Hut. The waterfall is found near the hut - follow a 5-minutes side track.

According to the topo maps, the waterfall is very tall - 176m. We don't know why: maybe they refer to the total drop of the river from the Lake Harris, or there are more leaps/steps downstream which are not well accessible (we didn’t explore the river much downstream). Most of the people will see the cascades, which everyone calls Routeburn Falls, and they are roughly 20-30m high. Nevertheless, they are stunning and impressive, especially after rain which is not unusual in this region.

Return via the same track; or if you're a keen tramper, you might be interested to do the whole 32km 3-4 days tramping Routeburn Track, or just stay overnight at either Routeburn Falls Hut or Routeburn Flats Hut. (needs to be booked!). If you wish to walk this multi-day track as a loop, then you can combine Routeburn Track with either Caples or Greenstone track. Really worth it! There are lots of beautiful waterfalls along the way, and the views are just unbeatable!

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Earland Falls

Rating:       ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Access:     6hrs  return walk
Driving:   324 km (4 hours 21 mins)

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Lake Face Creek Falls

Rating:       ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Access:     30min return walk
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