McLean Falls - Southland, New Zealand
McLean Falls, The Catlins © Bare Kiwi


The Catlins is home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls. The most famous of these is Pūrākaunui Falls - a magnificent waterfall surrounded by bush that cascades 20 metres over three distinct tiers. The waterfall is a short walk (10 minutes) from a side road off the main Owaka-Invercargill highway.

Nearby you'll find the smaller but beautiful Matai Falls right next to Horseshoe falls. The falls are easily reached via a 15 minute walk, the left track takes you to Matai Falls and the right track takes you to Horseshoe Falls via a short steep climb. 

Continuing south-west along the Southern Scenic Route you will see signs for the iconic 22 metre McLean Falls. The falls track is a pleasant 40 minute return walk into Catlins Conservation Park, and consists of a few climbs.

In Southland, there are many waterfalls to visit, some are located right off the road while others require a longer hike, but all are worth seeing. 

While these three waterfalls may not be as well known, they are still worth visiting and mentioning. Koropuku Falls is somewhat of a hidden gem even though it is signposted off the main Chaslands highway. Niagara Falls/Manga Piri is named by a surveyor with a sense of humor because these falls are nowhere near as impressive as its namesake and may just be the smallest falls in the Catlins. The Waipohatu Falls Track takes you on a 6,5 kilometre walk by two waterfalls the lower Punehu Falls and the upper Pouriwai Falls.

If you're looking to explore more Waterfalls in Southland - click here.