Waipohatu Waterfall Loop Hike in The Catlins

The Waipohatu Waterfall loop hike is a fast however worthwhile hike main to 2 waterfalls within the Waikawa Forest (Catlins Conservation Park).

For those who’re seeking to get off the common New Zealand South Island vacationer path, then the Waipohatu Waterfall Loop within the Catlins is a good begin to your itinerary. In contrast to the favored Fjordlands, the Catlins are quiet and fewer tourist-tramped, whereas nonetheless providing epic day-hikes and exquisite rainforest waterfalls.

On this information, I’ll share my expertise and likewise aid you discover your solution to the Waipohatu path and the 2 epic waterfalls; Punehu and Pouriwai Falls.


The way to get to the Waipohatu Waterfall Monitor

The Waipohatu loop monitor is situated on the finish of Waipohatu Street. Getting right here includes a 15-minute drive down the well-maintained Haldane-Curio Bay Street. This street is usually sealed, with some sections of gravel, which is straightforward to get by way of with any automobile.

Waipohatu Street is a slim gravel street between two fields that’s straightforward to overlook. Preserve an eye fixed out for a small signal pointing to a “Strolling Monitor”. I’ve pinned the precise location of the junction under on Google Maps that will help you discover it.

When you’re on Waipohatu Street, proceed on till you see the carpark with a bathroom and small picnic bench. The signpost for the trailhead will be discovered right here.

Be aware that Google Maps doesn’t have the correct data for the gravel street. As a substitute, you can additionally use Maps.me that will help you discover the trailhead.


What to Count on on the Waipohatu Waterfall Hike

This brief hike by way of the Waikawa Forest (Catlins Conservation Park) was surprisingly wild! As quickly as we hit the path we had been immersed in a dense forest that felt like stepping right into a scene straight out of the Lord of the Rings.

The Waipohatu waterfall path was very straightforward to navigate, with orange triangles indicating the plain solution to the 2 falls. Nevertheless, the monitor was muddy, which meant we needed to skip over rocks and strategically positioned punga, which is the thick trunk of tree ferns.

Hike Size and Period: 7.8 KM return loop; 2-3 hours.

Problem: Straightforward path however can get muddy in moist climate.

Complete Elevation Achieve: 330 M

Not realizing that the hike would take a number of hours, we began just a little late. To make sure we’d make it to Curio Bay to see the uncommon Yellow-Eyed Penguins, we ran many of the monitor by way of the mud and over the scattered sections of simply traversable wind-fallen bushes.

Beech forest on the Waipohatu Path


Waipohatu Loop GPX File

Beneath I’ve included our GPX monitor which I recorded on my Garmin watch.

GPX File: Obtain

My Strava: Go to

The Two Waipohatu Waterfalls

The Waipohatu Waterfall loop provides not one, however two superior waterfalls to reward you in your efforts.

After about 3 KM, you’ll attain a fork within the street with a worn and unintelligible signal. The left path results in the decrease Punehu Falls, whereas the precise path results in Pouriwai Falls. Each waterfalls will be reached inside 5 minutes of this junction, so I’d advocate making the journey to each!

Punehu Falls

Punehu Falls is the smaller, however prettier waterfall on the path. After a brief descent, you’ll end up observing a large rainforest waterfall plunging right into a waist-deep pool.

What Punehu waterfall lacks in peak, it actually makes up for in its magnificence. The scene is full by moss-covered bushes and the calls of untamed birds which makes you’re feeling such as you’ve stepped again in time.

Punehu Falls

Pouriwai Falls

The bigger and extra well-known waterfall on the Waipohatu waterfall loop is Pouriwai Falls. Quickly after turning proper on the fork, you’ll hear its roar simply earlier than making sight of it tucked behind the moss-covered cliffside.

For the very best views of this waterfall, you will want to cross a shallow and mild stream. There are some rocks which you could jump over, simply attempt to not slip like I did.

Pouriwai Waterfall can also be a plunging waterfall, which flows closely down a steep 10-metre drop onto a shallow, rocky pool.


Don’t Miss The Secret Saddle Viewpoint at Lake Alta on the Outstanding Vary

Finishing the Loop and Returning to the Carpark

After snapping some photos and getting moist, it was time to go again to the carpark on the loop monitor.

Simply close to the junction to the 2 waterfalls, there’s one other signal that signifies the loop monitor again. Right here, you’ll be able to both stroll again the best way you got here, or comply with this new monitor round.

We determined to take the loop, which provides perhaps 1-kilometre to the hike. This path pops out from the rainforest onto a mud street on the finish, which you’ll need to comply with for about 700 metres earlier than returning to the carpark.

Proceed Studying

I hope that this fast information to the Waipohatu waterfall loop monitor has satisfied you to go away the vacationer buses of Milford behind and to discover the lesser-visited areas of New Zealand.

For extra mountaineering and journey guides, be sure to try a few of the different articles on this weblog under.


For a listing of all my beneficial images gear (together with what I exploit and why) try my information to digital camera gear for journey.

For those who’d like to make use of any of the images on this web site, please go to my licensing web page to learn the way. I additionally promote skilled fine-art prints, go to my Print Retailer or contact me instantly for customs prints of any pictures on We Search Journey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Post