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Sutherland Falls
   Southland, New Zealand

This waterfall has been confirmed by the World Waterfall Database, has been mapped and its height has been approximated but exact measurements have not yet been confirmed.
Sutherland Falls is a high volume waterfall of three steps in very quick succession along the Arthur River, which spills from a pair of sizable lakes carved into glacial basins high on a mountainside in New Zealand's Fiordland National Park. The three drops of the falls stand 751 feet, 815 feet, and 338 feet tall respectively, occur in such quick succession that when viewed from the air the falls appear to be one long drop that impacts the bedrock in a few places.

The Arthur River heads in a modest glacier which feeds into a small unnamed lake which then spills into Lake Quill in its own waterfall (see Lake Quill Falls). Because of the volume of precipitation the region receives, the glacier sustains its mass fairly well and the lakes always provide a consistent flow over the falls and thus remains very consistent all year long.


  • Sutherland Falls is the Official name of this waterfall

Sutherland Falls named for Donald Sutherland, a prospector who found the falls in 1880. William Quill, whom the lake feeding the falls was named for, is thought to be responsible for the first measurement of the falls which was attained by actually scaling the headwall next to the waterfall.

Our thoughts

New Zealand is a country which has a very high concentration of waterfalls. Unfortunately many of the best ones are isolated deep in the backcountry and are extremely difficult to access. We are fortunate then that the absolute best waterfall in the country is easily accessed via a very popular trail system but can also be seen easily from the air thanks to the flourishing tourism industry in the area. If you are visiting the South Island of New Zealand, Sutherland Falls should be at the very top of your list of waterfalls to see.

Location and directions

Sutherland Falls can only be accessed on foot via the popular Milford Track. Power hikers could potentially hike to the falls in one day, but the 14 1/2 mile (one way) walk from the passenger ferry in Milford Sound would push most people's limits so its best to stay overnight when hiking to the falls. Vistas from the air are also common, with many scenic flight services being available in the nearby city of Te Anau.

Sutherland Falls is shown in the center. Additional nearby waterfalls (if any) can be found in the list below.

Additional Nearby Waterfalls

Name of Waterfall Distance
Lake Quill Falls 0.97 mi / 1.55 km
Lindsay Falls 1.33 mi / 2.13 km
Dudleigh Falls 1.39 mi / 2.22 km
Unnamed Waterfall 1.66 mi / 2.66 km
Anderson Cascades 2.35 mi / 3.76 km
Unnamed Waterfall 2.61 mi / 4.18 km
Dark River Falls 2.65 mi / 4.24 km
Unnamed Waterfall 2.76 mi / 4.42 km
Jervois Glacier Falls 3.08 mi / 4.92 km
Saint Quintin Falls 3.77 mi / 6.03 km


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