Visit Murchison, Tasman, NZ

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  • Murchison is located about 50 km inland of Westport, in the north west of the South Island. Surrounded by river valleys, it is known as the “whitewater capital” of New Zealand, popular for river kayaking, white-water rafting, jet-boat and fly-fishing adventures.

    Murchison is now a farming district but was a gold-mining in earlier years. It was also the site of devastating earthquake in 1929. This history is told at local museum, which also features open-air displays of early machinery.

    The town is surrounded by four major river valleys , the Buller, Matakitaki, Matiri and Mangles, which provide excellent opportunities for rafting and kayaking, along with the Gowan, Glenning and Maria Rivers. The New Zealand Kayak School at Murchison provides instruction.

    Accommodation in Murchison (NZ)

    Murchison has a range of hotels and motels, along with bed & breakfast establishments and luxury lodges.

    Self-contained cottages and chalets are available for rent, along with holiday homes.

    Backpacker accommodation and camping grounds are available.

    Transport around Murchison

    Murchison is about 70 minutes’ drive from Westport, 90 minutes from Nelson, and 2 hours from Greymouth. The town is served by inter-city coach services and shuttle buses between Greymouth, Nelson and Picton.

    Murchison’s nearest airports are at Westport (serving Wellington), Greymouth (serving Christchurch) and Nelson (serving Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and other cities).

    Rental cars, camper vans and motorhomes are available for hire. Mountain bikes can also be hired in Murchison.

    Tourist Activities around Murchison

    The rivers flowing through the rugged Buller Gorge are a great attraction of the area. Many visitors enjoy crossing Zealand’s longest swing-bridge, suspended 110 metres across the Gorge. There are river tours by jet-boat available at the same location.

    Guided white-water rafting and kayaking expeditions also operate on the nearby Matakitaki, Matiri, Maruia, Gowan and Glenning Rivers. It is possible to pan for gold in these rivers.

    Mountain biking, horse-trekking and fly-fishing are also popular activities along the river valleys. Hunting for deer and other game is possible in the region, and there are guided hunting and/or fishing tours available.

    Murchison has a historical museum that includes displays about the town’s gold-mining and farming past, its major earthquake, and the natural history of the area. The town also has art and craft galleries, antique shops and cafes for leisurely days.

    Bush walks in the area include tracks to Lake Matiri, Mount Owen and other scenic and interesting locations.

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