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Whisky Gully Waterfall Track

Home  »  South Island Walks  »  Tapanui  »  Whisky Gully Waterfall Track – Walk detail

Whisky Gully water fall is a five minute drive from a small farming town called Tapanui. The falls are hidden at the base of the Blue Mountain Range, the last stunning mountain range between Central Otago and the East coast of the exciting South Island

Quick Facts

        • Location: South Island NZ
        • Distance: 2 km
        • Time needed: 2 Hour
        • Difficulty: Easy
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: Double back
        • Elevation: 600m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: Yes
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: Yes
        • Last Updated: November, 2019
  • Track Highlights

    The bush was not that spectacular, the walk was through thick, wet scrub with a couple of patches of beach trees to walk though. You are walking up the deep and narrow Whisky Gully Creek, were very little sun light can reach you. In one patch of Beech forest we had to stop walking for five minutes and enjoy the bell Birds singing in the trees

  • Track Quality

    Are you looking for a six foot wide Queen Street foot path? you would be quite pleased with the flat easy walking, but you will be disappointed after fifteen minutes. If you are a true bushy, you will be pleased at having to watch were you place your feet on this narrow track and look for that extra hand hold as you inch around the rocky out crops. Two sections of this track are on SLIPPERY steep rocky climbs, its not suited for young kids and even adults who don’t have good balance and dislike heights. This time of the year, there very little sun light reaching this track, way down in the bottom of Whisky creek, it was a cold walk.
    A strong pair of boots on your feet will make this walk a lot more comfortable. And a walking stick or two.

  • Hazards

    As is said previously, there are two slippery rock climbs. But be very careful of that NZ Bush nasty, Stinging Nettle. This little nasty is found in wet cold shaded gullies. It will sting you mainly from the knees down as you walk past. But on this walk it has a sneaky trick up it’s sleeve, it hides up on the banks and gets you on your bare arms as well. It is best to wear long pants and shirt. Also take a walking stick to push the stinging nettle out of the way.
    There is a 8 steep alloy ladder to help you descend to the water fall, but the last three steeps are on slippery river rocks

  • Transport


  • Water

    The water in the Whisky Gully creek is good to drink, the residents in Tapanui thinks so.

  • Driving Instructions

    Look for the RSA building just meters from the main Intersection. Then look for the sign to Whisky Gully and Blue Mountain nursery.

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    There are ten shops in Tapanui. We were told the cafe is very good and we should call in for a coffee,But like a lot of small country villages, they close Sunday. The small country four square supermarket was open, it was well stocked for that, I forgot the lunch again.

  • Area & Track History


  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Whisky Gully Waterfall Track

    Map of walk

Whisky Gully Waterfall Car Park

As you can see the car park is not small. It was a cool day, 17 degrees, parking the van in the sun was a good move. The van was like an oven when we finished the walk. The start of the track is easy to find at the top end of the car park.
The Toilet is back down the road, you pass the toilets 100 Mt before the car park. Take the track into the bush, the track on your right goes up to the Blue Mountain Walk.

Whisky Gully Waterfall

It was a cool morning and even colder in the bush and out of the sun, so we took off at a good pace to keep warm.
The track was wide and easy to walk on. But we were stumped after crossing the first walk bridge, Left or Right fork??? NO arrow pointing to for Whisky Falls. Which one do we take, the old or the new track. We took the left fork, the old track, five minutes later we crossed the second foot bridge and bumped into the new track to our right, the short cut.

Now the fun starts, the goat track. I like goat tracks, I start to daydream when walking on Queen Street foot paths. The first tricky section on the walk was soon in front of us. This was a 2 Mt climb up a slippery slab of rocky along side the creek, one slip and you take a swim in the freezing water. A pair of good hard sole boots would have made this climb a little easier. There was not one good hand and foot holes on this rock, so no rushing, three points of contact at all times.

As we walk higher up Whisky Gully Waterfall Track we run in to small clumps of Stinging Nettle. At first on the flat section of track, the nettle was only knee high. On the steeper section of the nettle was growing on the banks at just the right height to catch you on the bear arms as you walked past. The walking sticks came in very handy to either break the branches off before walking past or push them to the side. At the end of the day I was stung on the calf muscle and Sandra was stung on the arm.

The next rocky climb was not as bad as the first one, on the way back we took the old tack around the rocks, it was a lot easier. Then we hit the sign to Black Gully 5 Hours and Smithie’s Spur 2 Hours, we were five minutes from the falls.
When we approached Whisky Gully Waterfall we were above the creek, I was expecting to walk out of the bush and to be looking up at the falls, but today we were looking down to the falls, now we had to climb down the alloy ladder and on to another lot slippery rock to reach the creek to take photos.

I must say I enjoyed being back in the bush again, I have spent a lot of time mountain biking up above the snow line around Millers Flat and Roxburgh, where we now live. It wont be long before the winter snow will chase me back down into the Teviot valley.

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Contact info

Whisky Gully Road, Otago, New Zealand

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