A rural place in between

The town of Murchison (pop 750) is near the junction of the Matakitaki and Buller Rivers, surrounded by rugged mountain ranges, and is situated on the Buller Gorge Heritage Highway some 125km south of Nelson and 300kms northwest of Christchurch.


Reflections in the mist outside of town

The town was founded on gold and saw milling and is now an important service centre for the travelling public as well as the local farming, forestry and recreation community.

In 1929 ten people died during the Murchison earthquake and the Murchison Museum has a special display about this disaster. In the quake the settlement was lifted almost half a metre, and the Murchison falls were formed, (just off the Sanandoah highway).

Recreational Activities include:
Fishing with a wide range of outstanding rivers and streams well stocked with brown trout with rainbow trout a possibility in the upper Maruia River.

Hunters will find Red Deer and Chamois on the tops and remote valleys, while in lower valleys, wild pigs are plentiful and small game can be found, (hares, opossums & ducks in season). Permits are required, and hunting competitions are sometimes held for some species.

The Buller River and its tributaries offer breathtaking experiences for skilled canoeists and kayaking for family fun with rafting from grades 2 to 5.

There are many tramping and climbing opportunities from the easy valley walks or more strenuous climbs to the rugged tops. The Nelson Lakes region, the Matakitaki Valley and the Matiri ranges are the more popular walking areas which now have improved services and access to the Kahurangi National Park.

There are a pleasant and interesting variety of bush walks are to be found within a short distance of the township, from 20 minutes to two hours, where you can see some of the history, flora and fauna of the region.

Gold Panning is an activity as old as the township itself - a relaxing way to spend a few hours on the river bank. (There are several commercial mining operations still working in the area, but not open to the public).


Murchison town centre

You will also find a nine hole golf course, a tennis and a squash club, hire mountain bikes, go bowling, take a 4WD adventure, go caving, (the Mount Owen region has some of the largest systems of underground caves in the Southern Hemisphere). Walk or bike the Old Ghost Road mountain bike trail and tramping track.

There are a few motels, backpackers and two camping grounds. The town has several café's and a petrol station with good

Accommodation at St Arnaud, the base to explore Nelson Lakes National Park.

Getting there
Drive from Westport, Nelson or Christchurch. Driving Christchurch - Nelson

A canoeist's tale and video of the district


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