Catlins waterfalls walks

Track category

Short walk


Pūrākaunui Falls

Time: 20 min return

Pūrākaunui Falls, Catlins.
Pūrākaunui Falls, Catlins

Getting there
The road to the falls is well signposted from the southern end of the Catlins River bridge. There is a carpark, toilets and picnic area.

The Pūrākaunui Falls is one of Otago’s iconic, most-photographed sights. The track through mature beech forest, and then beech and podocarp, is suitable for wheelchair users to the top viewing platform. From there the track descends to give the view of the three-tiered falls that’s often seen on calendars and postcards.

Matai Falls

Time: 30 min return

Matai Falls, Catlins. Photo: John Barkla.
Matai Falls, Catlins

Getting there
The Matai Falls carpark is on the Southern Scenic Route 18 kilometres south of Owaka.

The falls are in the Table Hill Scenic Reserve. The walk to them is through regenerating podocarp and broadleaf forest. The falls are beautiful, and seen in their best light around midday.

McLean Falls

Time: 40 min return

Getting there
Heading south, beyond the Cathedral Caves turnoff, turn right onto Rewcastle Road. The McLean Falls carpark and toilets are 10 minutes from SH92.

The 22 metre falls are on the Tautuku River in Catlins Conservation Park and are often described as the most spectacular in the region. The walk to the falls, though uphill, is not too steep and very pleasant. It passes through a variety of forest and shrub types: huge tree fuchsia, stands of olearia and podocarp forest.

Getting there

The Matai Falls are on SH92, the Southern Scenic Route, and the McLean Falls and Pūrākaunui Falls are well signposted off SH92. Travelling south from Owaka you'll come to the Pūrākaunui turnoff first.

Plan and prepare

Dogs are not allowed at McLean Falls, Matai Falls, Pūrākaunui Falls and Pūrākaunui Bay.


Find out more


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Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

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