Fantail Falls

Mt Aspiring / Haast Pass, South Island, New Zealand

About Fantail Falls

Hiking Distance: 400m round trip
Suggested Time: 5 minutes

Date first visited: 2004-11-24
Date last visited: 2009-12-27

Waterfall Latitude: -44.07811
Waterfall Longitude: 169.38641

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Fantail Falls was the second of two pretty well-known waterfalls we encountered in the vicinity of Haast Pass.

We were motoring through Mt Aspiring National Park between Queenstown and Glacier Country (i.e. Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier) so such waterfall breaks provided a chance to stretch and exercise.

Thunder Creek Falls was the other of the famous ones in the area, but unlike that one, Fantail had a more bulbous appearance that someone must have imagined a fantail thereby prompting its name.

Fantail Falls

Julie and I only had to do a very short two-minute walk from the car park to the banks of the Haast River where we could see this shapely waterfall.

Perhaps the only thing keeping us from lingering here longer and enjoying the falls more thoroughly were the annoying sandflies that seemed to keep swarming around us unless we kept moving.

The DEET that we had on didn’t seem to faze these sandflies very much, which was why not staying put in any spot for any sustained period of time was the key to minimizing the likelihood of getting those really itchy reactions from their bites.

I’d imagine this waterfall was also well-known because it was well-signed and there always seemed to be a handful of cars and tourists seeing the falls at any given moment despite the relatively remote and undeveloped nature of this part of the South Island.


Fantail Falls is administered under the jurisdiction of the Department of Conservation. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.



From the Haast Junction (119km south of Fox Glacier along the SH6), Fantail Falls was about 58km south along the SH6 (or 6km south of Thunder Creek Falls). There was a signposted car park at the trailhead making this place pretty easy to find. It was a little under 5km south of the Gates of Haast Bridge over the Haast River at the pass.

For context, Fox Glacier was about 23km (30 minutes drive) south of Franz Josef, 196km (2.5 hours drive) south of Greymouth, and 402km (about 5.5km west of Christchurch). Coming from the other direction, Haast Pass was about 2 hours drive (147km) north of Queenstown along SH6.

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Bottom up sweep from across the creek of the falls

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Tagged with: haast, aspiring, otago, west coast, south island, new zealand, waterfall, queenstown, wanaka, southern alps

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