secret fantail falls guide

==the cj way++

The CJ way Guide to secret fantail falls

 AT A GLANCE 

A hidden waterfall at Fantail Falls

Mount Aspiring National Park

15-60 minute walk from parking

Hard

Free

Best time to visit: early afternoon/late morning

Hiking shoes/watershoes required

 WHERE IS THIS EXACTLY? 

  • Coordinates of the waterfall -44.077148, 169.390026

  • Coordinates of parking: -44.076857, 169.386645

  • Note, there are essentially two different 'routes' you can take to get to the waterfall, an easier one and a harder one, but you may not be able to take the easier one (through the water) if water levels are high.

  • Option one (easier route but only doable when water levels are low) - park in the Fantail Falls car park and walk left (rather than right if you were going to the popular Fantail Falls), follow the creek (walking through it) the whole way up until you reach the waterfall. For us (last Summer) this relatively straight-forward path only took us about 15-20 minutes (and this was taking our time, especially when walking through the deeper parts of the creek where there was a current). The water was only knee deep on this occasion.

  • Option two (harder route but may be required if water levels are high) - park in the Fantail Falls car park and walk left (rather than right if you were going to the popular Fantail Falls), do the initial creek crossing and then look for a faint track leading up the hill to the right. You might not see this unless you are specifically looking for it as it’s quite discreet/faint. We followed this path up and down for about 30 minutes, taking our time and going VERY slowly. It’s worth noting that at some parts, the path takes you further away and makes you feel like you're getting too high but eventually it will take you to where you want to be. We did not deviate from the path, although it was probably the most hectic we have ever walked. You have to balance on logs, walk along a rather precarious cliff edge, and quite simply, be willing to take a few risks. Again, we took this track very slowly and never left each-others side as we had to help each other up/down quite a few parts. Once the waterfall is in sight (hooray haha!), you clamber over massive boulders for a couple of minutes and then can stop whenever you feel ready. These boulders were immensely slippery, so again, shoes with a good grip are definitely required here. All up, taking this ‘route’ to get to the waterfall, I would say it took us 45 minutes one way.

 best time to visit? 

  • The waterfall is in shade most of the day as it’s situated quite low down in the mountains. If you’re looking to take photos here, we think the best time of day to visit is mid-late morning.

  • We also think less water is better here as the base of the falls is such a beautiful clear turquoise colour. When there is more water and its rushing through, you miss out on seeing this colour.

 cj travel tips 

  • Feet will get wet no matter which route you take - we think it's best to wear water shoes

  • If water levels are high (i.e. there has been a lot of rain recently) you will not be able to walk along/through the creek until you reach the Waterfall, and instead you must walk through the bush/cliff. This is quite a risky walk.

  • Do not attempt when raining (or after recent rain!)

  • Although this waterfall is very close to the super busy Fantail Falls, there is no cell phone service here (or along this stretch of State highway 6) and it's unlikely anyone will be close by. We carried our personal locator beacon (PLB) with us and would not do this walk if we didn’t have one.

  • Make sure you have first-aid on you and carry it in your backpack.

 cj photography tips 

  • When the waterfall is really pumping the mist can be really bad - we recommend using your phone to find the right composition and keep your lens dry for as long as possible. 

  • The waterfall is so tucked away it doesn't usually get much sun which makes it relatively dark and a polarising filter alone is enough to slow exposure time to 4-5 seconds.

 what we found useful to pack 

​In addition to the usuals (camera gear, suitable clothing, water and food, first aid, etc. we found the following items useful:

  • First aid kit

  • personal locator beacon

  • water shoes

  • cloth for wiping the camera (the mist is crazy here!)