Purakaunui Falls

Holiday Travel Guide
Purakaunui Falls showing a waterfall, forest scenes and a river or creek

Visit the Catlins’ most famous waterfalls to see why it has adorned postcards and postage stamps for decades.

Rising to national fame in the mid 1970s following its use on the New Zealand postage stamp, Purakaunui Falls have remained among the most photographed waterfalls in the country ever since. Today, the waterfalls attract thousands of visitors annually. Come to see its three tiered cascades, photograph its 20-metre (66-foot) drop and make use of the relatively short walk to reach the falls. With a viewing platform that is accessible by wheelchair, Purakaunui Falls offer a fantastic waterfall experience for visitors of all ages and hiking ability.

Take the short detour from the Chaslands Highway, one of the most impressive and unpopulated stretches of the South Island’s famous Southern Scenic Route, to reach the car park for Purakaunui Falls. Those visiting the falls in summer will find a busy car park and a number of families picnicking in the designated picnic area. Bring a packed lunch to enjoy with views of the dense forest of the Catlins Forest Park.

Embark on the short walk from the car park to reach the falls in just 10 minutes. Look for a series of signs to learn about the flora and fauna of the region. The Catlins Forest Park includes a dense temperate rainforest and provides a home for a number of rare species of bird, including yellowhead and the New Zealand parakeet.

An accessible viewing platform provides great photo opportunities of the three-tiered waterfall. Continue down the designated path for a view of the falls from their base, where you can see the terraces of the falls and watch as the river continues behind you.

Reach Parakaunui Falls in just 15 minutes by car from Owaka. A car park provides free off-road parking. Find toilets adjacent to the picnic area. The falls have no fee to visit and they can be seen every day of the year.

49 Cheap Hotels Near Purakaunui Falls

Catlins Mohua Park
Catlins Mohua Park
4 out of 5
The price is NZ$235 per night from 1 Feb. to 2 Feb.
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
RiverRidge Retreat
RiverRidge Retreat
3 out of 5
Situated in Tawanui, this lodge is within 9 miles (15 km) of Catlins Lake, Matai Falls and Purakaunui Falls. Teapot World and Jack's Blowhole are also within ...
5/5 Exceptional! (1 review)
"We had a wonderful time at RiverRidge Retreat. We stayed in the Queen ensuite suite, which was larger and more comfortable than we'd expected. The bed was super comfortable, the kitchenette had everything we needed, including cooktop, microwave and fridge; there was a sofa, dining table and lots ..."

Reviewed on 20 Dec. 2019

RiverRidge Retreat
Lakeside Cottage
Lakeside Cottage
87 Lakeside Rd, Hinahina, Otago
This family-friendly Hinahina holiday home is located on the riverfront, 0.2 mi (0.4 km) from Catlins Lake, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Teapot World and Jack's ...
5/5 Exceptional! (2 reviews)
"Loved being on the farm, with sheep being mustered right outside the window, dogs, chickens, fresh eggs for breakfast. The ride in the Hilux up over the back of the farm with Karl was a great touch.Like being on ‘Country Calendar’ with Barry Crump. Superb kiwi experience. The farm house was lovely ..."

Reviewed on 20 Jan. 2022

Lakeside 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.

Popular places to visit in Purakaunui Falls

Purakaunui Falls

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Top Purakaunui 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 28 Jan. to 29 Jan.
Relax in style at the Catlins Retreat, historic villa in the heart of Owaka
RiverRidge Retreat
RiverRidge Retreat
3 out of 5
RiverRidge Retreat
Catlins Mohua Park
Catlins Mohua Park
4 out of 5
The price is NZ$235 per night from 1 Feb. to 2 Feb.
Catlins Mohua Park
Lakeside Cottage
Lakeside Cottage
87 Lakeside Rd, Hinahina, Otago
Lakeside Cottage
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
Character Catlins Lodge with Stunning Views
Character Catlins Lodge with Stunning Views
Character Catlins Lodge with Stunning Views
Catlins Lake Sanctuary
Catlins Lake Sanctuary
3.5 out of 5
193 Hina Hina Road, Owaka
Catlins Lake Sanctuary
Unwind in style: historic villa with a hint of luxury in the heart of Owaka
Unwind in style: historic villa with a hint of luxury in the heart of Owaka
27 Main Rd, Owaka, Otago
The price is NZ$142 per night from 28 Jan. to 29 Jan.
Unwind in style: historic villa with a hint of luxury in the heart of Owaka
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.