Thunder Creek Falls: A Must-See Waterfall in New Zealand's Mount Aspiring National Park

Thunder Creek Falls

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verification Verified Expert

    Nestled in the rugged heart of Mount Aspiring National Park, Thunder Creek Falls stands as a testament to the raw beauty of New Zealand's landscapes. This 28-metre cascade is a marvel of nature, where the power of water has carved a path through ancient rock, creating a spectacle that's both serene and invigorating.

    About Thunder Creek Falls

    Thunder Creek Falls is a natural spectacle that captures the essence of New Zealand's untamed wilderness. With a majestic drop of 28 metres (92 feet), the falls are a striking feature in the landscape of Mount Aspiring National Park. The waterfall is the dramatic outlet of Thunder Creek, which has its origins in the remote and pristine valleys above.

    Visitors to Thunder Creek Falls are treated to more than just the visual splendor of cascading water. The surrounding environment is a microcosm of New Zealand's unique flora and fauna. The dense forest that envelopes the area is home to a diverse range of plant species, from towering trees to delicate ferns, creating a verdant backdrop that enhances the falls' beauty.

    Thunder Creek Waterfall

    Where is Thunder Creek Falls

    Thunder Creek Falls is more than just coordinates on a map; it's a destination that captures the essence of adventure. Located in the Haast River valley, approximately 52 kilometres from Haast, it's a jewel tucked near the Gates of Haast bridge on State Highway 6. The falls are a natural outlet for Thunder Creek, which drains from a hanging valley—a remnant of the mighty Haast glacier's erosive force.

    Hiking Trail and Viewing Platform

    The journey to the falls is as enchanting as the destination itself. A short 200-metre-return walk from the carpark leads you through a forest of silver beech and kāmahi, with the path opening up to a viewing platform that offers an unobstructed view of the falls. 

    The accessibility of this natural wonder makes it a perfect inclusion for any travel itinerary.

    Thunder Creek Falls in New Zealand

    How Difficult is the Hike to Thunder Creek Falls?

    The path to Thunder Creek Falls is an easy, well-maintained track suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It's a gentle stroll rather than a hike, allowing visitors of all abilities to enjoy the thunderous applause of the waterfall as it meets the river below.

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    When is the Best Time to Visit Thunder Creek Falls?

    Timing is everything when it comes to experiencing Thunder Creek Falls in all its glory. The best time to visit is during the spring melt or after heavy rainfall when the water volume is at its peak, and the falls are truly thunderous. 

    However, the falls are a year-round attraction, with each season offering a unique perspective on this stunning natural feature.

    Flora and Fauna Around Thunder Creek Falls

    The area around Thunder Creek Falls is a haven for nature lovers. The canopy is dominated by silver beech trees, with a rich undergrowth that includes a variety of broadleaf trees and ferns. 

    Birdsong accompanies the sound of the falls, creating a symphony that celebrates the diversity of life in this unique ecosystem.

    Conservation Efforts and Visitor Impact

    Preserving the pristine condition of Thunder Creek Falls and its surroundings is a collective responsibility. Visitors are encouraged to follow the 'Leave No Trace' principles, ensuring that the falls remain a source of joy for generations to come.

    Thunder Creek Waterfall in New Zealand

    Photography Tips for Capturing Thunder Creek Waterfalls

    For the shutterbugs, Thunder Creek Waterfalls presents a dynamic subject. Early morning or late afternoon light casts a magical glow, ideal for capturing the falls' majestic flow. A tripod and a slow shutter speed will help in getting that silky water effect, a favorite among landscape photographers.


    Thunder Creek Falls is more than just a stop on the road; it's a destination that encapsulates the spirit of New Zealand's wild places. Whether you're a seasoned hiker, a family with children, or a photographer in search of the perfect shot, the falls offer an experience that is both accessible and awe-inspiring. 

    So, when you're charting your course through Mount Aspiring National Park, make sure to mark Thunder Creek Falls as a pinnacle of your journey.

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