Travelling the Catlins: McLean Falls & Tautuku Estuary – Day 169
Checking out Catlins’ waterfalls and estuaries!
Today we are still on the road for our epic Catlins trip! Today we’re going to see McLean Falls and the Tautuku Estuary! If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities, head on over to our YouTube Channel!
Today we’re going to see probably one of the most famous waterfalls in the Catlins.
This morning we hit the road before the rain. So we are making our way to the beautiful McLean Falls which is a very short walk very well maintained another one in the Catlins.
We are here early morning thanks to the fact that we are staying at the Whistling Frog Resort which is literally about 2km down the road from McLean Falls. As you saw from the sign it’s only a 40 minute return to these falls but the walk to get there is well worth it as we making our way through this absolutely stunning forest. We are heading through huge tree fushia stands of podocarp forest including rimu and kamahi. As you can see read all the information signs on the way there.
The awesome thing about tackling a hike like that in early morning is that we have the whole track for ourselves. there is not a sole around and there are heaps of birds surrounding us they are barely awake and they are all tweeting in the morning it’s super awesome.
I’m really impressed by the track it’s super well maintained it’s a wide gravel track really easy steps footbridges it’s a really easy hike for anyone to tackle. But I really love also all the stuff there is to see along the way on the McLean Falls Track there is heaps of waterfalls and when I say heaps it’s really a lot of them and most of the waterfalls are multiple tier making them absolutely picture perfect but because we are here to see the majestic McLean Falls we are already back on the track making our way even higher up on the cliff.
Laura and I are really eager to go and meet this massive McLean Falls. We have seen heaps of pictures of it but we’ve never seen it in person just yet so that’s gonna be our first encounter with the Mclean Falls which has been named after Douglas McLean which was an early settler of the area.
And as soon as we arrive in front of the stunning McLean Falls we are nothing short of impressed.
This has to be one of the most scenic waterfalls we have seen in New Zealand so far. it feels like it’s never ending where the waterfall drops 22m and it has all these different perfect tiers to it. this waterfall is a photographer’s dream and soon enough all the different tiers to this waterfall making us feel drawn to getting onto that waterfall and start climbing it.
Robin is leading the way on these natural steps that seem to be perfectly formed for climbing we are making our way tot eh top section of the McLean Falls which is lovely long drop waterfall into a plunge pool below absolutely surrounded by vibrant green moss.
Laura and her camera are having the time of their lives right here Laura is known for taking a lot of pictures on an average day we take between 1000 and 5000 pictures believe it or not. But right now, just right in front of the this waterfall she must have been taking 2000 because I’ve never seen her spend that long behind a camera in front of a waterfall. But to be honest this is one of the most picturesque waterfalls we’ve seen so far. And one of the interesting facts is that this waterfall is formed by the Tautuku River which is a very cool place in the Catlins and this is something we’re gonna be exploring a little bit more this afternoon as we are heading toward the tautuku Estuary which is where the river meets the sea.
Yay! Made it through.
The walk downhill is going to take us exactly the same way that we actually came back up it’s a one way track. And it usually takes between 20-40 minutes depending on your level of fitness to go back and forth to the falls. But one of the very striking things for us is that because we spent that long on top of the waterfall time has passed tremendously and the forest is much quieter on the way down.
We feel really lucky and privileged to have come here very early morning and to have seen it so alive with so many birds tweetly-tweeting while we were making our way up.
We’re super happy that we took the time to visit McLean Falls especially compared to the little bit of the disappointment we got the other day when we visited the New Zealand version of Niagara falls. You should definitely check that video out though if you get the chance. But anyway we are now hitting the road to our second activity of the day.
I got absolutely soaking at McLean Falls. The waterfalls went right into my shoes so I need to get changed.
To be honest I don’t really know why I’m changing my clothes because the rain is coming and I am only gonna get soaked again.
the tautuku estuary is pleasant little walk taking only about 30 minutes return.
The first part of this walk goes through beautiful podocarp forest where we can see all these awesome roots in the trees and this whole section actually used to be an old coach road.
Although the hike through the forest is absolutely stunning with towering trees and the wind blowing them giving us an entire show for us to watch, one of the best thing of this entire walk is as soon as we arrive at the board walk in the actual estuary. This really gives us an entire feel of what it is like for a river to meet the ocean or the sea or another massive body of water and what kind of ecosystem is living in that very specific part of the forest.
The estuary is really famous for noisy fern birds which are quite rare due to the lack of wetlands in New Zealand. the wetlands have been receding a lot but we get to see some other wildlife because the fern birds are not here today. And we see a lot of little crabs they seem to have a blast in this very wet environment and we do see them feeding on a lot of little insects which is quite interesting.
The original plan was to come here at sunrise because it makes all those plants look super bright orange and so stunning but sadly it was really overcast this morning and the rain was pouring down so we decided to move our plans around head to McLean falls first and come here later. But if you get a chance to come at sunrise or sunset we definitely advise you to do so it will look so much brighter.
That concludes another awesome activity in the Catlins not only are there so many things to do here but they’re actually free things to do so make sure to join us tomorrow for more of those activities.
If it was summer – you plunge in the water – if it is winter you freeze you balls – don’t jump in the water if it is winter. Alright so this morning we’re waking up pretty early…