Must-See Waterfalls on the Haast Pass
If you’re in search of a stunning adventure to embark on for your summer staycation, the Haast Pass on the South Island of New Zealand may be your perfect destination. The stunning natural scenery, unique plant and animal life, and must-see waterfalls on the Haast Pass make this mountain pass a natural wonderland, not to be missed.
The Haast Pass or Tiori-patea is a mountain pass on the South Island of New Zealand, known for its astounding mountain peaks and rich rainforests. Part of the Mount Aspiring National Park, the Haast Pass is a must-see for any local or international adventurers.
If you’re considering visiting the area and want to take full advantage of the natural scenery, consider visiting these waterfalls on the Haast Pass for an unforgettable experience:
Thunder Creek Falls
This is one of the most popular and most accessible waterfalls on the Haast Pass, for sure. Thunder Creek Falls are easily accessible by means of a ten minute (return) walk to the waterfall’s viewing platform, suitable for people of all abilities. The waterfall is about a ninety-minute drive from Wanaka, the resort town that acts as the gateway to the Mount Aspiring National Park.
The Roaring Billy Waterfall
This is another easy and accessible waterfall in the Haast Pass, but slightly longer to walk. People of all abilities will enjoy a gentle walk through the silver beech forest to the Haast river, ending with the Roaring Billy waterfall. The walk is about 1km or twenty-five minutes return.
Next up are the Fantail Falls, most suitable for adults and children. Unfortunately this waterfall is not very accessible to people with different abilities, such as wheelchair users. It is, however, another short walk of approximately five minutes or 0.2km from the car park to the beautiful fan-shaped waterfall.
The Blue Pools
This attraction is not quite a waterfall, but it is a must-see natural wonder in the Haast Pass. An easy 3km walk, approximately one hour return, leads you from the car park through the silver beech forest to a swing bridge. From this vantage point, you can gaze at the unbelievably clear Blue Pools at the mouth of the Blue River.
Walks Along the Haast Highway
There are all manner of bush walks, camping grounds, and nature experiences to be enjoyed along the Haast Pass. This handout from the New Zealand Department of Conservation will guide you along many great adventures on the South Island.
A Brief History of the Haast Pass
Also known as Tiori-patea, meaning “the way ahead is clear”, the Haast Pass has been an important route between Central Otago and the West Coast of the South Island for many years.
Maori peoples from the surrounding areas would use the pass to trade greenstone and food supplies, as the area was known to be abundant in natural resources.
Flora and Fauna in the Area
There are several kinds of insect-eating birds that call the Haast Pass home. For example, the fantail or piwakawaka, the yellow-breasted tit or miromiro, and the paradise shelduck or putakitaki are familiar sights on the Pass.
Over the years, rainbow trout were introduced to several of the rivers on the Haast Pass, making for a great past time on your nature adventure. Just remember to organise a license to fish in these areas!
Climate Conditions on the Haast Pass
Rainfall across the South Island varies greatly from area to area. The Haast Pass itself receives about 4500mm per year. Other areas such as the western slopes enjoy up to 8300mm in a given year, whilst the Lake Wanaka region itself receives on 2000mm in the same time.
The high altitude of the Haast Pass – about 560m above sea level – combined with varying rainfall has a great influence on the natural vegetation.
You can gain in-depth insight into the climate of the Haast Pass here.
Where to Stay on the Haast Pass
If you’re looking for a great place to stay on the Haast Pass that offers great value for money and access to amenities, you should try Wonderland Makarora Lodge.
Source: Wonderland Lodge accommodation
Nestled in the heart of Makarora, the Wonderland Lodge offers single- and double-bed cabins for budget-friendly but extremely comfortable stays. Studio chalets offer a more spacious experience, either by means of a queen bed or up to five single beds, depending on your needs. Two room chalets are also available for families and larger groups, including one queen bed and five single beds. It’s really up to you where you choose to spend your time!
More Adventures Near The Wonderland Makarora Lodge
If you’re looking for even more excitement to get the most out of your vacation, Wonderland Lodge has the scoop. Visiting the Experiences page on their website will plug you in to the best adventures in the Haast Pass, such as Backcountry Helicopter tours and the Siberia Experience.
Want to learn more about the Haast Pass and how to best plan your next getaway? Contact us for more information on our amazing sites and experiences, and book your stay today!