Whisky Falls

Clutha District

Scenic falls placed in an enchanting forest

A beautiful waterfall is located in Whisky Gully, the Whisky Falls. It appears to be a rather small waterfall, but don't let that bother you, the track and bush surrounding it is breath taking. A great New Zealand Beech forest with all the bells and whistles that come along with it, the meandering stream, tui's, rocky cliffs high above in the blue mountains. The track is not for the clumsy footed, it is no pram assessable, little kid friendly kind of deal. I would recommend some good hiking footwear and maybe some hiking poles. But all the same, if you have a few hours spare whilst around the West Otago area, give this place some thought.


I guess from Tapanui, head out of the center of town on Bushyhill Street, That will turn into Whisky Gully Road, Follow that till the end, about 2 kilometers away. Wasn't that easy? You are there, at the parking lot in the Whisky Gully Reserve. Get out of your car and walk into the forest where the signs say to go. To Easy. The Falls are about an hour up a dodgy fun track, that you will end up returning down, unless your in for the long hike to the summit or Blacks Gully some 8 hours away.

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How did this place get it's name?

Back in the heyday of the Illegal Moonshine Distillery business that Southland and West Otago were infamous for. As the story goes: Once upon a time, in one of the deep clefts of the Blue Mountains, there was discovered by the police a distilling plant. The unfortunate distiller would of been punished, but the accounts of names and fates are long forgotten. They say that the Tapanui Police had there hands on that still and kept it in town. And that Cleft that was once unknown is now known as Whisky Gully. - Some words from the Otago Witness, Issue 2502, 26 February 1902.

A Tapanui Beauty

Oh, Gully fan, beloved retreat!
How oft I've looked in wonder,
Thy Fairy dells, infringed and sweet,
In meditation ponder

Thy thickly-decked and wooded knolls,
So knit to human nature,
And song birds, how then music trills,
To harmonize in future.

With rippling streams and ferns green
In Quiet, unknown nooks-
Then rustic beauty so to screen,
As one and other looks.

And towering high, the mistletoe,
In scarlet brightness shown.
Thus bellbird now, unscathed by foe,
Is sheltered and unknown

Thy rugged path and moss-grown bank
To flowing waterfalls
So fair a picture, first in rank,
To all artistic calls.

You may wander far in many chimes,
And scenes abroad to rove,
Entwine your thoughts in sunny rhymes,
And Nature so to move.

But one dear spot will come to you,
With homely beauty dwell
Oh, glen, impassioned, loved, and true,
Thy Loveliness to well'

Farewell to thee, most blessed of haunts!
I feign from thee would part
Oh, Hand Divine, such non implants
Endearment to my heart.

-Annie Mackenzie, Tapanui, April, 1902

Leaving now in our buggies, and bid farewell to Whisky Gully - Stu