Purakaunui Falls, The Catlins
Said to be one of the most photographed sights in Otago, Purakaunui Falls in the Catlins is easily my favourite waterfall in the South Island. It's a short and easy walk from the carpark, about two hours drive from Dunedin. It's fully worth the journey though, and there are several other waterfalls in the nearby area, including McLean Falls, Matai Falls and Horseshoe Falls. Purakaunui waterfall has become an icon of the Catlins area. I have visited here three times, and each time I have seen very different water flow which completely changes how the waterfall looks and photographs.
On this particular trip, a change of plans due to weather brought us waterfall hunting in the Catlins. The area had had a recent and very rare snowfall, and snow was still on the ground on the path and alongside the highway. The melting snow likely contributed to the clean and steady flow of the waterfall on this day. The Catlins sees a lot of rainfall, which also means the surrounding bush is very lush. While we were taking photographs, the sun was peaking through the mostly cloudy sky, which created a golden glow around the waterfall at just the right time.