• Waitutu Lodge
  • Wairaurahiri River
  • wooden viaducts over the Francis Burn, the Edwin Burn, and the Percy Burn.


The Waitutu Lodge is situated in Fiordland, on the ancient marine terraces which form the west bank of the Wairaurahiri River, and is set amongst dense virgin podocarp forest.  It is just a five minute walk to the unique wild South Coast.  If the weather is clear, the Solander Islands and Rakiura (Stewart Island) can be seen from the beach.

The Forest

This outstanding dense podocarp forest is situated on relatively gentle terrain, comprised of a series of uplifted marine terraces. It is part of the largest area of lowland coastal forest in New Zealand.


Dr David Bellamy described the Waitutu forest as “probably the most important forest in the world”. Thirteen distinct terraces have been mapped from the coast to over 1000 metres above sea level, and up to 12 kilometres inland. These terraces have been uplifted over an extended period of time, with each level approximately 100,000 years older than the last.


The forest contains rimu, miro, totara and southern rata, also kamahi, lancewood, ferns, orchids, etc. It provides safe haven for wood pigeon, tui, bellbird, and many other native species.

The River

The River

The Wairaurahiri River is one of New Zealand’s most remote and untouched rivers. It is 27km of rugged, rock-strewn, Grade 3 white-water rapids that drops 520ft to sea level. It is commonly described as New Zealand’s “longest waterfall” or “steepest river”, and you can actually see the drop as you look back up the river. The native bush extends to the water-line, and is alive with native birds.


The river is fed from Lake Hauroko, New Zealand’s deepest lake, and one of the ten deepest lakes in the world. At 482 metres deep, it’s bed is well below sea level. The water in the lake is so dark, due to the tannin from the beech forest, that nothing grows below a few metres depth.