Purakaunui Falls

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Purakaunui Falls
Purakaunui Falls.jpg
Purakaunui Falls
Location The Catlins, South Island
Coordinates 46°31′13.46″S 169°33′47.56″E / 46.5204056°S 169.5632111°E / -46.5204056; 169.5632111
Type Cascade
Total height 20 metres (66 ft)
Watercourse Purakaunui River
Purakaunui Falls in full flow
The falls in a drier period

The Purakaunui Falls are a cascading three-tiered waterfall on the Purakaunui River, in The Catlins of the southern South Island of New Zealand.[1] As one of very few South Island waterfalls away from the alpine region,[2] it has long been a popular destination and photographic subject.[3]

The falls are an iconic image for The Catlins region, and were featured on a New Zealand postage stamp in 1976.[4]


The falls are located 17 km (11 mi) to the southwest of the small town of Owaka and 5 kilometres (3 mi) from the river's outflow into the Pacific Ocean. They can be reached via a short, interpretative 10-minute bush walk from a car park on the Waikoato Valley / Purakaunui Falls Road, a gravel side-road off the main Owaka-Invercargill road. There are toilets and a picnic area. The small, well-signposted detour to the falls is popular with tourist travellers along the Southern Scenic Route, and prominently mentioned in brochures about the area.[5]

Although the Purakaunui Falls are not part of the Catlins Conservation Park, they are surrounded by native bush consisting of podocarp and silver beech, in a scenic reserve of 5 square kilometres (2 sq mi). A small viewing platform near the top of the falls is accessible by wheelchair. Steps continue down to the main viewing platform at the base of the 20 metres (66 ft) three tiered cascade.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Purakaunui Falls, Southland, South Island, New Zealand". World of Waterfalls. Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  2. ^ "A land of waterfalls". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  3. ^ "Photograph of Purakaunui Falls, from 1908". National Services Te Paerangi (NZ Museums). Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  4. ^ "Waterfalls, New Zealand postage stamps". New Zealand Post. Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  5. ^ "Southern Scenic Route, A Traveller's Guide, pg. 16" (PDF). Department of Conservation NZ. Retrieved 2014-03-21. 

External links[edit]