The main falls cascade approximately 15 metres over the steep headwall of the gully, then trickle over the terracettes formed from exposed layers of alternating mudstone and sandstone. The luxuriant fern growth takes advantage of the shaded location and the cool spray of the falls.
McLean falls are well signposted along Rewcastle Road on the Southern Scenic Route between Chaslands and Papatowai. The unsealed road continues 3.5 km to the roadend carpark (with toilets).
This well tended track was completed in 1998 with efforts from DoC and Kings High School.
It initially passes through an open section of forest with notable trees including Olearia ilicifolia (Maori Holly), with its spiky leaves. Interpretation plaques name prominent species.
As the track enters the gully the vegetation becomes denser and greener. Mosses and ferns occupy all available surfaces and the haunting contorted branches of fuchsia (kotukutuku) impart a redness. The Tautuku River echoes off the banded mudstone walls of the cleft, a sound amplified as you approach the falls. These drop in three main tiers, the larger two only visible after a brief steep zigzag climb.
South Island ▷ Southland ▷ Waikawa
Showing 13 reviews of 38.
Awesome lush waterfall and rainforest walk!
Very nice bush walk, easy to walk. But there were a lot of people on the walk.
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Hidden gem of a waterfall, easy 45 minute walk and very rewarding. Can get right up beside the amazing falls.
At the time of writing, these are my favorite falls in all of New Zealand. After a beautiful, creekside walk, you arrive at truly enchanted place...like stepping back in time. Don't miss it! To better experience the beauty and magic of this place, avoid summer crowds by visiting very early in the morning, or late in the day. And be sure to enjoy the lower falls as well as the upper falls and pool.
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Lovely walk, gorgeous waterfall. Not too steep not too slippy.
Beautiful waterfalls and after the exquisite bay.
BAH-utiful short walk through temperate rainforest to a lovely waterfall.
This would be one of my favourite walks in New Zealand! Really easy trek to the most wonderful misty waterfall! And past that is a sweet path to the top!
Very nice waterfall, but so very crowded that people were irritated when you wanted to take a picture.
magdalena gomez haedo
Nice park with many black swans and huge lake. We went in autumn so there were beautiful colours due to the trees. The falls weren't the best. Not wild.
Beautiful walk to the waterfalls. An amazing forest with nice ferns.
Gorgeous place, but a lot of tourists.
You walk 3km through really nice rainforest and then you see the 100m high waterfall on five steps. In the afternoon, the sun is shining on the highest step which makes it even more beautiful.
Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍