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Access to the falls is via a walking track across the Buller Gorge Swingbridge. Canoeists use the falls in pursuit of their sport.

The area surrounding Ariki Falls, known as Whale Flat, was settled by the Whale family in the 1870s who travelled from Hokitika to Lyell and finally stopped at the falls. Mrs Whale died when her fourteenth child was born. Some of the sons worked with their father mining gold while others pit-sawed and carted timber.

Buller Diversion Tunnel It was near Whale Flat that work on the upper entrance to the Buller Diversion tunnel was started. This was a pilot tunnel to divert the river away from the horseshoe bend now occupied by the Buller Gorge Swingbridge. It was known the riverbed was rich in gold, but the 1920’s scheme failed due to unexpected engineering difficulties and lack of finance.

Highway 6, Upper Buller Gorge, Box 77 Murchison, New Zealand
Phone (03) 523 9809 Fax (03)523 9807, Email: swingbridge@bullergorge.co.nz