The Koropuku falls is a very charming, fairytale like waterfall in the Catlins. Found in the western part of Catlins Conservation Park, along the scenic Chaslands Highway, you will almost pass the sign to Koropuku Falls if you don’t pay enough attention.
Although Koropuku Falls is only 10 meters high (about 33 ft), it might sound not too impressive. But the scenery, the walk towards the falls and the perfect silk curtain like waterfall with lush surroundings make Koropuku Falls a gem. It’s not a popular spot, so you most likely have the waterfall for yourself which is so peaceful and special to experience. Find in this complete guide everything you need to know about Koropuku Falls.
How to get to Koropuku falls
The Koropuku falls are located in Catlins Conservation Park along Chaslands Highway and are roughly a 1.5 hours drive away from Invercargill or a 2 hour drive from Dunedin. The road is a well maintained sealed road. The GPS of the trailhead is S 46° 34.717′ E 169° 13.162’ or just put the location into Google Maps. Look out for a small wooden sign saying ‘Koropuku Falls’ (NOT a DOC sign) with a small pullover bay. Here you can park your car and start the walk. It is about a 10 – 15 minutes walking to the falls over a path with logs. Sometimes it can be a bit muddy after rainfall.
There are no facilities such as toilets here.
What to expect at Koropuku falls
We didn’t really know what to expect from the Koropuku Falls as there isn’t much information online about this New Zealand waterfall and the track is unofficial. But we came to the Catlins for some waterfall chasing, so we took off to explore!
After we parked the car and got our camera bags ready for the short walk to Koropuku Falls we immediately got immersed in a magical forest. Mossy tree branches, a serene little river and beautiful old trees were the first things we passed making our way into the forest.
The path is really easy to follow on the man made logs and definitely feels a bit off the beaten track. Once the track starts to open up to the waterfall you will have to cross a little bridge, but nothing too difficult.
The area at Koropuku Falls is mesmerising. All the ferns and greens around it are truly magical and the silver curtain of water falling down is almost hypnotising. We couldn’t stop taking pictures with and finding new angles. This spot really is a photographers dream!
There is only once bench to sit and take in the views of the waterfall. So hopefully you’ll be there as the only one to fully enjoy and experience the pure nature. We enjoyed every minute at Koropuku falls and couldn’t stop shooting this gem. Definitely one of the most beautiful Catlins waterfalls together with Mc Lean Falls.
More Amazing New Zealand waterfalls to explore
Are you a waterfall lover just like us? Then you’re at the right place in New Zealand! There’s an abundance of beautiful waterfalls in New Zealand, and we had the pleasure to visit many of them! Here is a short overview of some of the best waterfalls in New Zealand you must visit!
Located on the southern part of the South Island in the Catlins, Purakaunui Falls is a beautiful three-tiered waterfall that can be reached after a short 15-minute walk through the mature beech forest. With 20 meters in height over 3 tiers, it isn’t the highest waterfall in New Zealand, but because of its different tiers and the way the water is falling down the rocks, it’s definitely one of the most beautiful!
Rob Roy waterfalls
While you might not think about this series of beautiful waterfalls at first, they can’t be missed in my opinion on this list of the best New Zealand waterfalls. In fact, the Rob Roy waterfalls include everything that New Zealand is about for me. Hanging glaciers, lush forest, and river valleys with gushing waterfalls cascading down the sheer rock face of the glacier. It’s an incredibly spectacular sight and relatively easy to get to from Wanaka via the Rob Roy Glacier track in Mount Aspiring National Park.
Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls is a stunning waterfall located near the town of Raglan in the Waikato region on the North Island. It is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the area with a height of 55 meters (180 feet) and absolutely worth a visit. Bridal Veil Falls cascades over a sheer cliff face and gets its name from the delicate and elegant way the water spreads out like a bridal veil as it falls, especially during times of high flow.
Some of the most beautiful New Zealand waterfalls is located on the western side of the North Island. The 35-meter-high Marokopa Falls flows down the rocks into a deep pool below, creating a powerful roar and misty atmosphere. Surrounded by lush greenery and native bush, the Marokopa Falls is a beautiful natural attraction to visit. The waterfall viewing platform is very easily accessible by a short walk from the car park.
Lady Bowen Falls
Lady Bowen Falls is one of the iconic waterfalls in Milford Sound plunging down a steep rock face directly into the sound’s dark, deep waters of Milford Sound. Located near the entrance of the Milford Sound fiords, you can easily spot Lady Bowen Falls either from the ground or when cruising into the fjord. Lady Bowen Falls has a vertical drop of approximately 162 meters (531 feet), making it one of the highest waterfalls in New Zealand.
Best tours on the South Island
New Zealand’s South Island is full of adventure, stunning scenery and fun experiences to be made. There are few experiences which are an absolute must when you’re traveling New Zealand’s South Island. Below a summary of the best tours you can book.
Depart during a morning cruise on a smaller boat that travels outside of peak hours. This will give you prime viewing and more time on the water than other tours. You will listen to the informative commentary from the passionate skippers of Southern Discoveries and enjoy a provided picnic lunch. If you want to, you can include a kayak excursion and paddle Harrison Cove in a small-group. Limited to 8 people you will have a very intimate experience to really take in the immense scale of the bluffs and explore Milford Sound in a unique way.
A memorable experience to see the Franz Josef Glacier from the air during a helicopter flight above ice falls, snowfields, and crevasses. You will depart from a helipad in Franz Josef and then make your way along the glacier down to a snowfield to see the icy landscape from up close. There you will take in the sweeping views across the maritime glacier. An unforgettable experience on the west coast and a once in a lifetime must do! Because in 10 years from now glacier will be much smaller…
The lesser-known and quieter version of Milford Sound is Doubtful Sound. During this full-day tour you will journey across the clear waters of Lake Manapouri to Doubtful Sound. Make sure to keep an eye out for wildlife while taking in the scenery. If you’re lucky you might see fur seals, bottlenose dolphins, and crested and little blue penguins. Your naturalist guide will tell you everything and point out interesting sights.
A Milford Sound scenic flight is the perfect way to see the impressive landscape of Fiordland NP from the air. Depart from Milford Airport and track west along Milford Sound. Climb alongside Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak for some great views of the fiords and its towering peaks. After the 20 minute helicopter flight you will return to Milford base.
Another way to see Fiordland National Park from above is when you booked the scenic fly-cruise-fly tour from Queenstown. You will get a round trip flight from Queenstown to Milford Sound followed by a boat cruise in Milford Sound. Take in the spectacular views of the snow capped mountains of the Southern Alps, remote valleys and waterfalls. During the flight you will have an amazing aerial view of Lake Quill and Sutherland Falls as can be seen on the picture below. This experience will take your breath away and is a must do if your budget allows it. Without a doubt some of the most scenic flights in New Zealand.
How to get around in New Zealand
To experience New Zealand to the fullest and at your own pace, renting a car, campervan or motorhome is the best way to get around. Which one of these options you choose depends on your preference and budget. If you love camping, being outdoors all day and you don’t mind a smaller living space, then renting a camper van is the way to go. It also gives you the freedom to sleep at some of the most beautiful camping spots, but for some of them you’ll have to make a reservation and plan your trip accordingly. The same goes for a motorhome which is bigger than a campervan and fits about 4-6 people. Here’s what you need to know about renting a car, camper van or motorhome in New Zealand.
Car rental New Zealand
Renting a car in New Zealand is the easiest and cheapest rental vehicle available. It will get you to all the best destinations with ease and gives you the freedom to stop for a break wherever you want. However, you should keep in mind that some roads in New Zealand are still gravel or that you have to cross shallow rivers to some destinations in National Parks. Therefore we personally recommend a mini SUV or SUV model to have enough clearance for these kind of roads.
We rented for 6 weeks a Mitsubishi ASX model and were super happy with this car! The best place to book your rental car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare different car models, prices, companies and terms and conditions. Make sure to secure the booking of your rental car as soon as possible to have the lowest price possible. Prices go up the closer you get to the pickup date.
Campervan rental in New Zealand
Traveling around in a campervan is one of the most popular ways for a roadtrip in New Zealand. With a bed, small kitchen and seating area you will have all the (basic) needs on four wheels. Make sure to check if your campervan has a shower or not because this might influence where you want to camp. A campervan allows you to camp at plenty of beautiful places, sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee. It will give you a true feeling of freedom and connects you with nature.
We personally recommend to book your campervan with Travellers Autobarn as they have a wide range of Station wagons, 2-berth campervans & 3-5 berth campervans to hire for all budgets. All Travellers Autobarn campervan hires in New Zealand come with free unlimited kilometers, a 10% discount to premium campgrounds, 24/7 roadside assistance & long-term rental discounts. Check the availability and prices today to secure your campervan for a New Zealand dream road trip!
Best places to stay in the Catlins
The Catlins are some of the most underrated destinations on New Zealand’s South Island but absolutely worth visiting. If your itinerary allows it, I would even recommend staying for a few nights around Catlins to explore not only the Catlins Conservation Park but everything in between from Invercargill to Kaka point. You can either base yourself along the coast, in Invercargill or at some of the quiet camps. There are plenty of options, but here are the best accommodations to stay in our opinion.
Catlins Mohua Park
Located close-by Catlins Forest park are these stunning self-contained chalets with free WiFi and private parking. Each chalet features a fully equipped kitchen, a dining setting and a lounge area with a sofa. Every unit comes with a private bathroom with bathrobes. Bed linen and bathrobes are provided. All chalet’s at Mohua Park do not include a TV so you can fully take in the stunning views from your terrace. Free use of bicycles is available to explore the area and many of the Catlins waterfalls and other points of interest are only a 20 – 30 minute drive away. Truly a stunning and comfortable stay with beautiful views.
The Langlands Hotel Invercargill
Located within 400 meters from the city centre of Invercargill you will find the Langlands hotel. Featuring spacious rooms with a fitness centre, private parking, a restaurant and a bar, this 4-star hotel offers all the comfort you need. Invercargill is a great little town with plenty of restaurants. A great choice if you don’t want to be too much off the beaten path and far away from supermarkets and restaurants.
Kaka point accommodation
Kaka Point accommodation is a beautiful, luxury, self-contained studio in the small sea-side town of Kaka Point at 100 meters from the beach. Surrounded by an abundance of nature and wildlife, you can awake to views of the spectacular coastal scenery.
The studios have fully equipped kitchens with a refrigerator, freezer, microwave, stove top and tea/coffee making facilities. Guests can enjoy uninterrupted, panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Nugget Point Lighthouse from the privacy of their unit or relax in their private, therapeutic, double spa bath.
More New Zealand travel guides
I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about Koropuku Falls in the Catlins. Make sure to put this incredible waterfall on your New Zealand South Island itinerary!
There are many amazing other things to do and places to visit on the South Island of New Zealand. So if you’re looking for more inspiration and ideas, head over to our other New Zealand travel guides.