Top 5 Canterbury Waterfalls

Explore the hidden gems of Canterbury with our ‘top 5’ waterfall guide. Pack a picnic and enjoy breath-taking views, stunning walks and world-class photo opportunities.

Washpen Falls

  • One hour drive from Christchurch
  • Allow 2 hours to walk the track (moderate fitness recommended)
  • A fee is charged which includes a track guide & use of walking sticks.
  • $10.00 per adult
  • $5.00 per child (under 15)

Nestled in the midst of a working sheep, cattle and deer farm, Washpen Falls offers breath-taking views of the Canterbury Plains. Begin your trek at the Old Washpen Woolshed and make your way through an ancient Volcanic Canyon filled with lush native bush. Mid way through the loop track you will stumble across the spectacular Washpen Falls – don’t forget the camera for this beauty!

Ohau Falls – Kaikoura

Please note: there is currently no access to Ohau Falls due to the November 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake.

  • Easy 10 minute walk to the falls
  • No dogs

Visit the picturesque waterfall by following the short walk along Ohau Stream. If you’re lucky, during the winter months you’ll spot a fur seal pup swimming in the waterfall pool.

Guidelines for viewing seals from the Seal Colony:

  • Do not enter the seal colony by stepping onto the rocks from the carpark platform
  • View seals only from the carpark platform
  • Do not enter the water at the Ohau Stream
  • Seal pups will hide in the presence of loud noise and large groups. Please keep noise to a minimum.

Devils Punchbowl – Arthurs Pass

  • 2 hours’ drive from Christchurch
  • 1 hour return moderate walking track

The Devils Punchbowl Waterfall Track climbs up to the base lookout with unforgettable views of the 112 metre falls. During the winter season, brave the chill and enjoy the spectacular sight of the falls when accompanied by snow.



Ryde Falls – Oxford

  • 50 minute drive from Christchurch
  • Walking and mountain biking tracks
  • Dogs allowed. Keep dogs under control at all times.

Ryde Falls is a hidden gem in the heart of Oxford forest. The falls can be accessed from a number of walking tracks in the area including, the Wharfedale TrackView Hill and Coopers Creek.


Avalanche Creek Falls – Arthur’s Pass

  • 2 hours’ drive from Christchurch
  • Short 5 minute walk to the falls

Avalanche Creek Falls consists of 3 waterfalls totalling 80 metres in height and is located in Arthur’s Pass National Park. The lower fall can be seen from the bridge, while the middle one is visible from the lookout platform at the end of the track.

To see the upper waterfall, and all 3 leaps, cross the road and follow Devils Punchbowl Waterfall track. After 2-5 minutes, look back and be blown away by the view.

Article courtesy of ChristchurchNZ

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