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Hiking to Devils Punchbowl Waterfall In Arthur’s Pass

Hiking to Devils Punchbowl Waterfall In Arthur’s Pass

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

An impressive, yet easily accessible 2 km hike to the 131 m waterfall in the incredible Arthur’s Pass National Park.

One of the best, and consequently most popular things to do around Arthur’s Pass is to visit the powerful Devil’s Punchbowl waterfall. This is a popular hike for families and those looking for an easy hike for a great reward!

After only a short hike through native forest and board-walk paths, walkers will arrive at a viewing platform, offering incredible views and photo opportunities of this spectacular towering waterfall.

In this guide, I’ll detail how to get here, what to expect, and photography from my visit.

Devils punchbowl falls

How to Get to Devils Punchbowl Waterfall

The short walking track to Devil's Punchbowl waterfall is located just 700 m north of the Arthur's Pass visitor center. There are plenty of car park spaces both at the visitor center and at the designated car park for the waterfall itself.

I've pinned the exact location of the car park to access the Devil's Punchbowl track below.

Map showing location of devil's punchbowl waterfall in arthur's pass, new zealand
Devils punchbowl waterfall arthurs pass

Walking Track to Devils Punchbowl Falls

  • Hike duration: 2 km (45 minutes return)
  • Difficulty: Easy

There are clear signposts indicating the direction to the waterfall along the trail from the car park.

The short walk begins at the bridge, and continues up, climbing slightly into the lush beech forest before finishing at a wooden viewing platform just below the falls.

The short walk to Devils Punchbowl waterfall can't really be considered a hike. It's more of a short, boarded leisure walk. This is great news for people looking for a quick waterfall fix that is easily accessible from the highway. We've done this hike many times alone and with family who also found the hike to be easy.

While it is short, this waterfall walk is scenic and gives a great taste of the incredible natural diversity of the Arthur's Pass region. It has many switchbacks which make the climb gradual and the trail is immersed with the sounds of the native alpine Kea birds and Pīwakawaka.

Devils punchbowl trail engulfed by dense ferns
Viewing areas along the punchbowl falls trail
Devils punchbowl waterfall walking track arthurs pass

What to Expect at the Waterfall

  • Waterfall height: 131 m
  • Swimming: No

This waterfall is very tall and plunges heavily down the steep mountain face beyond the viewing platform. Steep rock shelves surround the falls creating the "punchbowl" in which it's named.

Although this one is very accessible, it was, in my opinion, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in New Zealand!

Tip: Visit in the early morning for spectacular shots as the sun hits the top of the falls creating a rainbow spray!

Devils punchbowl waterfall in arthurs pass with early morning light
Haylea with her family walking on the bridge to devils punchbowl falls
Haylea and her family enjoying the views

Unfortunately, access to the actual waterfall is prohibited due to the dangerous rockfall present around the falls. Don't worry though, this doesn't mean you don't get a great view of the waterfall.

The DOC has built a wooden viewing platform that is perfect for setting up a tripod or just enjoying the view. From here, you'll get a view of the Devils Punchbowl waterfall and the stream running fiercely down the mossy rocks below.

Tip: Depending on the amount of rain the region has seen on your visit the waterfall spray can reach the wooden platform and completely engulf you so beware!

Haylea and i standing on the viewing platform at devils punchbowl
Devils punchbowl waterfall new zealand
Devils Punchbowl Falls
Devils punchbowl waterfall viewing platform
Devils punchbowl waterfall arthurs pass

More Things to Do and See Around Arthur's Pass

If you're looking for more activities, check out some epic experiences below!

Where to Stay in Arthur's Pass

Arthur's pass alpine motel

1. Arthur's Pass Alpine Motel Motel

The best-reviewed and bang-for-buck motel in the area. These rooms offer kitchen facilities & great views of the valley and surrounding mountains.

Cabin lodge in arthur's pass

2. The Nook Lodge

While I didn't stay here, if you're in a larger group or if you'd prefer an entire apartment, then you can't go wrong with The Nook. This place offers a private bathroom, bedroom, living room, & mountain views.

Mountain house accommodation in arthur's pass

3. Mountain House Backpacker Lodge

A Great lodge within 1.4 km of Devils Punchbowl Falls & just 600 metres from Arthur's Pass Train Station, this backpacker lodge offers excellent common areas (lounge & kitchen) for socialising with other travelers.

I hope that you enjoyed this quick guide to visiting Devils Punchbowl in Arthur's Pass.

Below you'll find some more blogs and guides for the South Island!

Devil's punchbowl waterfall
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.