Browne Falls

Browne Falls, New Zealand
Browne Falls (to the right) / Floyd Wilde. CC BY-SA 2.0

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 45.3983 S 167.0848 E
No:191        (list of all attractions)
Values:Geology, Visual
Address:Australia and Oceania, New Zealand, South Island, Southland, stream between Browne Lake and Doubtful Sound
Height:836 m, tallest drop - 244 m
Average width:12 m?

It is considered that the highest falls in New Zealand are Browne Falls in the beautiful Doubtful Sound.

Doubtful Sound, like any other fiord of Southland, is adorned with numerous waterfalls. Many of these falls are considered to be temporary - falling during the rains. But, as the rain here is almost every day - these falls are falling almost permanently.

Browne Falls are truly perennial because the are fed by Browne Lake - but otherwise they do not differ too much from the other falls in Doubtful Sound.

Direct horizontal distance between the lake and Doubtful Sound is 1,000 m, height difference - 836 m. The stream though is not straight - it makes 1,130 m long horizontal distance between the lake and fiord. Thus the angle of falls is "just" 42°. There are numerous such obliquely flowing streams in the mountains of the world and there is no clear line drawn between "mountain stream" and "waterfall".

Another height of falls given is 619 m (1). It is hard to tell how this height has been obtained, or rather - which part of the stream has been excluded from the height because Browne Falls have several plunges along their way (some count 6). May be the beginning, the upper part of falls is excluded, because here are no steep plunges yet. It is assessed that the tallest single drop closer to the upper part of falls is approximately 244 m tall (2).

Waterfall falls down amidst lush vegetation, formed by oldgrowth nothofagus rainforest. In spite of somewhat critical notes above, this is great natural attraction, supplementing the gorgeous scenery of Doubtful Sound.


See Browne Falls on the map of New Zealand!


  1. Johnny T. Cheng, World of Waterfalls, Browne Falls. Accessed on January 15, 2011
  2. Bryan Swan & Dean Goss, World Waterfall Database, Browne Falls. Accessed on January 15, 2011

Your thoughts?