Home / Trips / Southland

Falls Creek, Fiordland National Park

Crossing Falls Creek. Photo: Jo Carpenter
Area
Fiordland National Park
Distance
6.33km to lake
Total Ascent
787m
Time
3-4hr to rock bivouac
Grade
Moderate
Accom.
Rock bivouac, three people
Access
Milford Road,1km past the Lower Hollyford Road turn-off
Map
D41
GPX File
Falls Creek.Fiordland National Park (gpx, yo 13 KB)
Your device does not support GPX files. Please try a different device.

Most people will only know Falls Creek from the impressive waterfall that fringes the Milford Road, but the route starting beside it offers excellent opportunities to explore classic Fiordland backcountry without the crowds.

The track follows the creek steeply upwards as it climbs towards the hanging valley, crossing over slippery rock faces and gnarled roots. After 45 minutes of steady climbing, the track reaches the valley and levels out. The silver beech forest is unusually diverse, filled with lush lancewood and coprosmas. The track steadily deteriorates as you travel up-valley, and finding the next orange triangle can become tricky. Emerge from the bush into a large swampy clearing. Here, the valley opens up into a series of scrubby river flats, with the imposing massif of Ngatimamoe Peak visible to the left.

A further twenty minutes, boulder hopping brings you to a three-person rock bivvy marked by a cairn, but there are also potential camping spots further upstream.Head for the lake at the head of the valley. The landscape is covered with rock jumbles and thickets of pineapple dracophyllum, and becomes progressively desolate and gravely as you reach the moraine near the lake. The lake itself is an eerie oval of milk-blue water, fringed by sheer rock faces and a huge slab of ice. Apparently it sometimes contains icebergs.

Support Wilderness

Since 1991, Wilderness has had one simple goal: to help Kiwis ‘See more, do more, live more’ of New Zealand.

If you value our mission, please consider subscribing. As a loyal supporter, you’ll receive these benefits:

  • New Zealand’s best outdoor journalism We’ve won multiple awards for our journalism and magazine production.
  • NZ’s best trips. Browse more than 610 trips with downloadable maps and route notes.
  • Trustworthy gear reviews. Each month we review gear we’ve been bashing and thrashing for months so you can determine if its worth your money.
  • Member benefits. Our WildCard provides discounts at more than 20 partners throughout New Zealand.
  • Your support goes a long way. Your subscription will help us fund NZ’s best outdoor journalists and writers and ensure Wilderness will be there to inspire the next generation of outdoor Kiwis.

A subscription costs as little as $7.00/month for instant access to all articles, trips, gear reviews and gear guides.

View all our subscription options and join the club.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.