McLean Falls New Zealand is a popular waterfall walk in the Catlins Coastal Region to a rewarding, multi-leveled waterfall!
McLean Falls, Catlins New Zealand is a popular but quick stop worthy of any Catlin’s road trip itinerary. The waterfall is very easily accessible and is one of my personal favourite waterfalls in the area.
I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. I visit every destination I write about & handpick all recommendations.
How to Get to McLean Falls
The McLean Falls is located on the Tautuku River and is best reached by private car or campervan. The road conditions are sealed, however, the last stretch of about 3 kilometres follows a gravel road before finishing at the large car park.
The best way to find it is to follow the directions to the map pin below.
There are also plenty of signs on Chaslands Highway that will give you the warning to turn off. The road you'll need to follow to the waterfall car park is called "Recastle Road.
McLean Falls Walk
The walk to one of Catlin's most iconic waterfalls is a pleasant and easy one. The first section is boarded, before entering the native forest where you'll follow the Tautuku River up towards the waterfalls.
There are actually numerous great freshwater swimming spots along the walk, so keep an eye out near the start of the track.
After about 10-15 minutes of walking, you'll reach the lowest waterfall. However, you can't stick around here too long, since the DOC have designated it as a rock-fall area. Keep going for another couple of minutes and you'll reach the clearing for the two main waterfalls.
McLean Falls Main Waterfall
At the end of the walk, we were surprised to find out that there wasn't a direct track access to the larger, main McLean Falls waterfall. However, that wasn't too much of a problem, since it's easy to scramble up the low rocks on the right side of the falls and then walking over to the main waterfall.
Still, this part isn't really necessary, since you can still admire the lower cascading waterfalls and get a glimpse of Mclean Falls from here too.
More Things to do In the Catlins
After snapping some photos and potentially taking a dip down on the calmer flows of the river, you'll be ready to continue your Catlins road trip adventure!
If you enjoyed this guide to McLean Falls, Catlins New Zealand, make sure to check out some of my other free travel guides and articles below. You could also check out this full list of epic things to do in the Catlins or find more Catlins waterfalls here.