Murchison, St Arnaud & Nelson Lakes National Park

Enjoy this is a pristine alpine area, with the village of St. Arnaud being just over an hour’s drive south of Nelson.

Nelson Lakes National Park is the northernmost part of the Southern Alps. This area has a huge range of short and long walks which you can enjoy from a short stroll through the beech forest to remote mountain passes to challenge the experienced solitude-seeker.

From every angle you will find you need to stop and photograph the impressive native beech forests, river valleys, glacial lakes and craggy peaks. Nelson Lakes National Park is home to over 16 lakes including the Blue Lake – recently discovered to have the clearest natural freshwater in the world.

Murchison is one of the top ten whitewater destinations in the world and gateway to some of the world’s best fly fishing.

Top Tips for Visitors

  • Take a walk through the Murchison township; visit the museum for a fascinating insight into the history of Murchison and its people
  • Feel the rush and power as you raft or jetboat through granite canyons in the Buller Gorge with
  • Visit Maruia Falls, formed as a result of the 1929 earthquake
  • Walk New Zealand’s longest swingbridge across the Buller River Gorge
  • Stay at luxury fly fishing lodges along these pristine rivers
  • Base yourself at the alpine village of St Arnaud where there is variety of quality bed and breakfast accommodation, motels and lodges and enjoy boating, sailing, kayaking and lakeside walks on or beside Lake Rotoiti
  • Ski or snowboard at Rainbow Ski Area, just 27km from the village of St Arnaud
  • Take a gourmet day or multi day guided walk through the National Park, enjoying the beech forests full of birds, the sparkling lakes and tarns and tussock covered mountain sides
  • Allow expert guides to take you by helicopter to remote spots for some of the best Brown Trout fly fishing in New Zealand on the Buller River, Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoroa.

Page 7 premium small image Fishing1To help plan your trip drop into the Murchison Visitor Centre or the Department of Conservation (DOC) St Arnaud Visitor Centre. Find out more here.

Murchison St Arnaud Nelson Lakes NP


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Get above the bushline

There are many great tramps in the Nelson Lakes National Park. One of my favourites is the walk from the Lake Rotoiti car park to Bushline Hut. It's an easy one to three hour walk that gets you quickly up above the bushline, where you can access many other tracks and play in the snow in winter.