Haast Pass – Waterfall Hopping & The Blue Pool

Haast Pass – Waterfall Hopping & The Blue Pool

To get from the West Coast to Queenstown, Haast Pass, that cuts through Mt. Aspiring National Park, is likely the most scenic route. It is dotted with waterfalls and viewpoints.

There is no signage for Depot Creek Falls, but if you pin it on Google Maps, you’ll be directed to a gravel parking lot, and don’t be surprised to be the only ones there. The waterfall is just a short 1-minute walk from the parking lot.

The Roaring Bills Falls isn’t one of the most popular falls given its distance from the viewing site. However, you may encounter a hidden surprise that can potentially make this your favorite waterfall spot.

No signage to explain why the need to keep the gate closed.
This trail requires a bit more walking to reach the falls.
There is a crystal clear blue stream separating you from the waterfall.
But that’s not what makes it special
It’s the herd of cattle that wanders along the rocky path between you and the waterfall that makes this place just a bit more interesting. This explains the need to keep the gate closed.
Thunder Creek Falls, so named for the sound it makes.
Fantail Falls seen across the clear stream.
Close up

Perhaps the star of this road is the Blue Pools.

Suspension bridge above the Makarora river.
Unbelievably clear and blue waters, caused by scattered light from the rock flour particulates (rocks repeatedly crushed by glaciers) suspended in water. This is why all glacier fed lakes are a bright blue/green color.
Lake Wānaka
The road to Queenstown passes between two lakes – Lake Wānaka and Lake Hawea. The “Neck”, is the narrowest distance between the two lakes, and offers you a view of both.
Lake Hawea
As we drove from the West Coast to Queenstown, it felt like we had traveled from Alaska to Hawaii, Wyoming, and now through Colorado.

New Zealand South Island’s varied beauty is so compact, that you’d have to put a few US National Parks right next to each other to achieve the same effect.

Beautiful Arrow Junction looks like something out of a fairy tale.
Finally in Queenstown, where the town reminds us of any small North America tourist town – Banff and Jackson Hole were the first to come to mind.
And dinner at Fergberger, touted as possibly the best burger in the world.

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