The Haast Pass welcomes locals and tourists alike all year round, whether they’re enjoying an extended trip in their once in a lifetime campervan experience or visiting for the day to take in the beautiful scenery. The area keeps visitors coming back for more and for good reason. This iconic mountain pass is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, from crystal blue pools to roaring waterfalls, peaceful nature trails to dramatic alpine vistas, which continues to wow visitors from across the globe. Whether you love natural beauty, want to see local wildlife or simply fancy a unique trip, the Haast Pass should be on your list of places to see.
If you’re planning a trip along the Haast Pass, there are plenty of things to consider, such as what are the main things that you want to see, are you planning to have an overnight stay somewhere and are there any particular experiences that you want to try while you’re there? With a huge variety of things to see throughout the drive, you’ll want to make an itinerary to make sure you don’t miss out on any stops along the way. While you’re planning what specific stops you want to make, you can’t overlook the number of incredible waterfalls that nature has on offer in this location. So, if you’re wondering what the must see waterfalls along the Haast Pass are, take a look below to find out.
Thunder Creek Falls
Thunder Creek Falls is one of New Zealand’s must see waterfalls and when you see it in person, you will understand why. This waterfall stands at 28-metres tall, showcasing melted glacial water from the Haast River to visitors as it plummets down the lush, green cliff and into the rainforest below. Located just 1.5 hours from Wanaka, Thunder Creek Falls is a must visit location along the Haast Pass to take in the dramatic scenery that’s like no other. Whether you’re an avid hiker or you prefer to keep your walking distance limited, Thunder Creek Falls is the perfect trail, as visitors simply follow the flat path for approximately 5 minutes to reach the stunning waterfall viewing point. Whether you want to spend hours in the park or you just want to make a quick, drop-in visit, Thunder Creek Falls should be at the top of your list of things to see along the Haast Pass.
Named after one of the country’s favourite birds, Fantail Falls welcome
s visitors to come and see its uniquely shaped falls that flow into the crystal clear Haast River below. If you’re looking for a quiet, wilderness spot just minutes from the main road, then Fantail Falls is the place for you. Visitors can take a quick walk from the car park to be greeted by the beautiful waterfall as they stand on the stable rocks just across the river to take in the view. While you’re there, enjoy the stunning, rugged rainforest as it meets the iconic, glacial clear water, all just a few minutes from the main road! This waterfall is located within Mt Aspiring National Park, nestled between Wanaka and Haast. If you’re heading to the falls from Wanaka, it’s an 87-kilometre trip, or a 55-kilometre drive from Haast. If you’re planning a stop at Fantail Falls, insect repellent is recommended, as the area is notorious for being loved by the local sandflies.
Roaring Billy Falls
Standing at 30-metres tall, Roaring Billy Falls is a must see waterfall along the Haast Pass. This beautifully dramatic waterfall cascades down a dense, rainforest-lined cliff and into the stunning Haast River below, allowing visitors to see and hear nature at its finest. The wishbone-shaped falls split through the tree-lined cliff and into the bright blue, glacial waters of the Haast River that sits in between visitors and the waterfall itself. Visitors can access the viewing point via a 15–20 minute walk through fern-lined paths and gorgeous rainforest scenery before the trees open up to the waterfall and the Haast River. Located in Mt Aspiring National Park, Roaring Billy Falls sits closer to the Haast end of the pass, at a 115-kilometre drive from Wanaka and a 27-kilometre trip from Haast.
Depot Creek Falls
Depot Creek Falls is known by locals as one of Haast’s best kept secrets, as it’s not as famous as other waterfalls along the route. Many people visiting the area aren’t aware that this waterfall even exists, as there isn’t a sign on the road to let visitors know that it’s there. To access the waterfall, pull in to the gravel car park by the Depot Creek bridge, where you will find a path that leads to the secret waterfall. If you’re looking for a peaceful trip where there is even a chance to have a waterfall completely to yourself, then this is the spot for you. The walk to the falls is only a few minutes long, meaning you can park up for as long or as little as you like to take in the stunning scenery that’s tucked away in the forest. Depot Creek Falls is located 22-kilometres from Haast or just 5-kilometres away from Roaring Billy Falls.
Gates of Haast
Although technically not a waterfall, the Gates of Haast offer stunning scenery which can be seen either from your car or from the bridge that crosses over it. The Gates of Haast are a series of water rapids that flow across the gorge of the Haast River boulders. The bright blue, glacial water crashes across the rocks, showcasing the beautifully rugged nature that New Zealand’s South Island is renowned for. The iconic metal bridge combined with the wild, flowing rapids below provides visitors with a beautiful juxtaposition of human-built structures combined with natural beauty.
If you’re planning a trip along the Haast Pass, it’s not complete without a list of must see waterfalls along the way! Whether you’re looking for a secluded waterfall that’s kept a secret from many visitors or dramatic falls that are loved by people across the globe, there is plenty to see along the Haast Pass.