Matai Falls

Holiday Travel Guide
Matai Falls featuring a cascade and forests

Take a drive on the Southern Scenic Route to embark on a walk through regenerating forest that leads to two of the Catlins’ most photogenic falls.

Matai Falls may not have made the New Zealand national stamp but they’re just as impressive as the nearby Purakaunui Falls, without the crowds. Take a drive along the winding Southern Scenic Route to reach the Matai Falls car park and start your day’s exploration of the Catlins Forest Park. A short walk leads you to both Matai Falls and the adjacent Horseshoe Falls. Embrace the serenity of the dense forest as you enjoy a picnic lunch in the designated area or listen to the cascading water from the edge of the Matai Stream.

Park by the edge of the highway in the carpark to locate the trailhead and begin your walk through the forest. Duck beneath the low-lying branches of rejuvenating podocarp and broadleaf trees. Pass through a tunnel of foliage as you make the short walk to the Matai Stream.

As the forest opens up you’ll begin to hear the sounds of the water cascading down the two sets of falls. Removed from the sounds of civilisation, be amazed by the tranquillity of this secluded spot. Stand beside the 10-metre-tall (33-foot) Matai Falls or continue an additional 2 minutes up the stream to reach Horseshoe Falls. The return journey takes about 30 minutes and after an initial descent remains flat, making the track suitable for hikers of all ages.

Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy afterwards at the designated picnic area, with only the sounds of the forest, or continue to the nearby McLean Falls and Purakaunui Falls. Matai Falls are located approximately 18 kilometres (11 miles) from Owaka and parking is available beside the Southern Scenic Route. The park and falls are free of any admission fees and are open every day of the year. Dress appropriately as temperatures can drop in winter and rain is often unpredictable.

49 Cheap Hotels Near Matai Falls

Catlins Mohua Park
Catlins Mohua Park
4 out of 5
Situated in the mountains, this motel is within 12 miles (20 km) of Catlins Lake, Matai Falls and Purakaunui Falls. Teapot World is 11 mi (17.7 km) away.
4.6/5 Exceptional! (16 reviews)
"Mohua Park was an excellent base for discovering the Catlins in full. The natural setting was very appropriate together with the excellent landscape views from the cottage,"

Reviewed on 21 Apr. 2021

Catlins Mohua Park
Character Catlins Lodge with Stunning Views
Character Catlins Lodge with Stunning Views
This family-friendly Papatowai holiday home is located on the riverfront, 5.2 mi (8.4 km) from Matai Falls, and within 12 mi (20 km) of Cathedral Caves and McLean ...
Character Catlins Lodge with Stunning Views
Surfinn Eco Cottage - Papatowai Cottage
Surfinn Eco Cottage - Papatowai Cottage
Situated in Papatowai, this cottage is within 9 miles (15 km) of Matai Falls, Cathedral Caves and McLean Falls. Purakaunui Falls is 10.7 mi (17.3 km) away.
4.8/5 Exceptional! (4 reviews)
"Beautiful location and great walks nearby"

Reviewed on 18 Jul. 2021

Surfinn Eco Cottage - Papatowai Cottage
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Top Matai Falls Hotel & Accommodation Deals

Relax in style at the Catlins Retreat, historic villa in the heart of Owaka
Relax in style at the Catlins Retreat, historic villa in the heart of Owaka
27 Main Rd, Owaka, Otago
The price is NZ$142 per night from 6 Dec. to 6 Dec.
Relax in style at the Catlins Retreat, historic villa in the heart of Owaka
Catlins Mohua Park
Catlins Mohua Park
4 out of 5
Catlins Mohua Park
Character Catlins Lodge with Stunning Views
Character Catlins Lodge with Stunning Views
Character Catlins Lodge with Stunning Views
Surfinn Eco Cottage - Papatowai Cottage
Surfinn Eco Cottage - Papatowai Cottage
Surfinn Eco Cottage - Papatowai Cottage
Catlins Country  Cottage  with Stunning Views
Catlins Country Cottage with Stunning Views
Catlins Country Cottage with Stunning Views
RiverRidge Retreat
RiverRidge Retreat
3 out of 5
RiverRidge Retreat
Whistling Frog Cafe & Accommodation
Whistling Frog Cafe & Accommodation
2 out of 5
9 Rewcastle Road, The Catlins, Chaslands, Southland
The price is NZ$191 per night from 6 Dec. to 6 Dec.
Whistling Frog Cafe & Accommodation
Lakeside Cottage
Lakeside Cottage
87 Lakeside Rd, Hinahina, Otago
Lakeside Cottage
Catlins Lake Sanctuary
Catlins Lake Sanctuary
3.5 out of 5
193 Hina Hina Road, Owaka
Catlins Lake Sanctuary
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.