Base yourself in Christchurch and go on a little waterfall hunt.
Who doesn't love waterfalls? They have something mesmerizing about them and whatever form or shape they come in they are usually a sight to behold. These 4 pretty exemplars are within easy driving distance from Christchurch - which is the ideal base for a weekend of waterfall "hunting". Grab your mates, pack a lunch and head for a waterfall trip in Canterbury.
Methven - Washpen Falls
You can find Washpen Falls about one hour's drive from Christchurch. Situated on private land the walk to the waterfall takes you through an ancient Volcanic canyon past native bush and birdlife. A fee is charged to access the walkway which is situated on a high country working farm, the $10.00 per adult, $5.00 per child is well invested as it also includes a little track guide giving you information on flora and fauna you'll encounter. The loop track is steep in places and sturdy foot wear is recommended.
Time: 2 hours
Arthurs Pass - Devils Punchbowl
Arthur's Pass is home to many challenging multi day tramps. However the walk up to the Devils Punchbowl water fall is a short and sweet affair and often described as one of New Zealand's most stunning waterfalls. The track starts at the northern end of Arthur's Pass village and climbs up steadily to a viewing platform - be prepared for some steps on the last incline. Throughout the walk you can glimpse views of the 131m long waterfall through the beech forest.
Time: 1 hour
Tip: While you're there also check out the Avalanche Creek Falls on the opposite side of the village or the Bridal Veil Falls which starts at the same car park as the Devil's Punchbowl Waterfall walk.
Orton Bradley Park - Gully Falls
Orton Bradley Park is a private 650ha rural property on the southern shores of Lyttelton Harbour, a scenic 45 minute drive from Christchurch CBD. Over 25km of walking tracks within the park cater for all ages and abilities. A small token access fee ($5) is required to park your car. It's well worth it though. The popular Waterfall Gully Track follows the valley and takes you through native bush to the lovely Gully Falls. There are actually two waterfalls, an upper and a lower one. The track is rough in places and gets steeper towards the end, sturdy shoes are definitely recommended.
Time: 2.5 hours
Akaroa - Newtons Waterfall
The little French themed settlement of Akaroa is a scenic 1.5 hour drive from Christchurch which in itself is a highlight with many fantastic views of the bays. The return walk to the Newton Waterfalls from Akaroa village is only 20 minutes. From the car park at Aylmers Valley Rd the track goes through a gate and follows a former road for 5-7 minutes, then it turns onto a side track which in 5 minutes brings you to the waterfall's base. Note: Newton's Waterfall might have little water (or even dry out completely) during summer. Best time to visit - after a decent rain, or during late Autumn, Winter, early Spring.
Time: 20 minute return
YHA Christchurch is a homely heritage building with a modern atmosphere. Located near the town centre, this backpacker hostel is a perfect home base to see everything Christchurch has to offer!
How to Weekend Road-Trip in New Zealand
We've put together a helpful guide for making the most of your weekends in 2021! All of our tip-top advice, a few things to keep in mind and even some possible route ideas, all in one place!
Top 5 Must-Do Activities in Christchurch
With two YHA hostels and our National Office located in Ōtautahi Christchurch, we like to think we know a thing or two about our wee town.
The Ultimate Christchurch Walking Tour
We're lucky to have a hostel smack bang in the middle of the most walkable city in New Zealand. We also think a good walk is the best way to explore it! Fancy that.