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Browne Falls

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

WorldBlue  In short

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

4.3 out of 10 stars 42.8%

GPS coordinates
45.3983 S 167.0848 E
Location, address
Australia and Oceania, Polynesia, New Zealand, South Island, Southland, stream between Browne Lake and Doubtful Sound
836 m, tallest drop – 244 m
Average width
12 m?

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

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 they 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 a 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 has several plunges along their way (some count 6). Maybe, in the beginning, the upper part of falls is excluded because there 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 old-growth Nothofagus rainforest. In spite of somewhat critical notes above, this is a great natural attraction, supplementing the gorgeous scenery of Doubtful Sound.


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

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