If you are on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island in the Fjordlands, it may seem as if the whole country is made up of towering cliffs with water constantly falling off of them from dizzying heights. Elsewhere in the country waterfalls are harder to find and yet stunningly beautiful in their own way.
This is the Purakaunui Falls found on the South Island of New Zealand in the remote Catlins Forest Park. These falls are said to be New Zealand’s most photographed, but given their location I find that hard to believe. The area is a good two-hour drive from the nearest truly populated area. The Catlins, for all its beauty, is a part of the world that is sparsely populated to say the least. While my wife and I where here we only saw a handful of other travelers and definitely more sheep than humans in the surrounding area. The hike to the falls is through a dense and lush rain forest. It is an extremely easy and short trek, but getting to the parking lot will take some navigational skills and semi-rough gravel road driving. You will feel as if you are at the edge of the world and in some sense you are. This, like so much of New Zealand, is an area I wish we had more time to explore.