• Exploring Fiordland’s Finest Waterfalls

    Fiordland’s finest waterfalls for you to explore

Exploring Fiordland’s Finest Waterfalls

April 30, 2019

Fiordland’s waterfalls come in all shapes and sizes. But accessibility is key to exploring these precious natural wonders. By foot, by car, by boat or by helicopter – waterfall chasers go to extreme lengths to come face to face with these mystical, free flowing giants.

Embarking on a waterfall mission in Fiordland is like finding the holy grail for waterfall enthusiasts. The most stunning, indescribable waterfalls you can ever imagine live here.  Here are our favourites to get you started.

Sutherland Falls

Officially New Zealand’s highest waterfall standing at 581 m tall, it is only accessible via a scenic flight or viewed by foot from the Milford Track, about three days into the journey past Quintin Lodge. Dropping 580 m from Lake Quill to Arthur Valley in three spectacular leaps down the near-vertical mountain wall, Sutherland Falls is a breathtaking, awe-inspiring waterfall that will take your breath away.

If walking the Milford Track is not an option, then the scenic flight is your best bet. We can get you up close and personal with Sutherland Falls, with a special landing at Lake Quill as part of our Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound flight packages.

When you’ve made it to the top, keep an eye out for the cheeky Fiordland mountain parrots known as keas.

Sutherland Falls in Fiordland, New Zealand

Otherworldly scenery so hauntingly beautiful – Sutherland Falls is as dreamy as it looks here beneath Lake Quill.


Stirling Falls

Stirling Falls is one of the most iconic waterfalls in Milford Sound. At 151 metres tall, it’s three times the height of Niagra Falls just to put things into perspective. Carved by majestic glaciers and straight out of Lord of the Rings, Stirling Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in New Zealand and you’ll see why.

Only accessible via boat cruise, kayak or scenic flight, Stirling Falls, known as Wai Manu Falls in Māori means cloud on water – a most fitting name that makes the journey here worth every effort. Just remember your raincoat and enjoy every second under the spray of these magical falls.


Stirling Falls, Fiordland, New Zealand

Getting up close and personal with Stirling Falls means being prepared for a refreshing mist from the heavens above.

Bonus! If you take the boat cruise out from Milford Sound, you’ll be able to cruise past the Bowen Falls by boat or walking track  – just check the Department of Conservation’s website for any track warnings or closures.


Unnamed waterfall in Campbells Kingdom, Doubtful Sound

An unnamed waterfall just waiting for you to discover? Yes, it really exists. The jaw-dropping, prehistoric landscape in this hidden valley known as Campbell’s Kingdom in Doubtful Sound is the perfect backdrop for chasing waterfalls. This mission would have to be done by scenic flight though since that’s the only you’ll come across the unnamed waterfall tucked away here, complete with a pristine lake.

You can experience the beauty of this unnamed waterfall during one of our landing locations included in three of our flight packages – Doubtful Sound, Dusky & Doubtful Sound and Milford & Doubtful Sound. Take inspiration from your surroundings, capture that perfect shot and have a go with naming it yourself.

Waterfall in Fiordland, New Zealand with Southern Lakes Helicopters

Unnamed Waterfall on the edge of a pristine lake explored through helicopter.


Browne Falls, Doubtful Sound

Unofficially the highest waterfall in New Zealand, Browne Falls is a staggering 857 meters high and is as remote and pristine as it gets – there is no way for private cars to drive to Doubtful Sound only accessible by a Doubtful Sound cruise (either a full day or overnight) or Doubtful Sound scenic flight.

For some, Browne Falls is categorized more as a cascade than a waterfall since the water flowing down is largely in contact with the rock face instead of free falling.

Browne Falls, Fiordland, New Zealand with Southern lakes Helicopters

The Māori name for Doubtful Sound is patea, meaning the place of silence – the perfect setting to bask in the beauty of Browne Falls.

However, you want to call it, the magnitude of Browne Falls is awe-inspiring as well as experiencing the ‘sound of silence’ as you explore into Doubtful Sound. Just remember to keep your eyes peeled for bottlenose dolphins and the Fiordland crested penguins while you’re waterfall hunting!