Flat and upper Acheron, Molesworth Station
PHOTO: Rob Suisted ©

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Molesworth Station is a land of extremes. This vast landscape contains scree-scarred mountains, wide river valleys and tussock slopes. You can drive through Molesworth Station on the Acheron Road which is open for the season.


  • At Molesworth Station conservation, farming and recreation go hand in hand.
  • Experience Molesworth for yourself during the open access periods, by car, bike, horse or on foot.
  • Learn about the history from interpretation panels, camp outside the Cob Cottage, picnic by the mighty Acheron River or enjoy walks from 10 minutes to several days duration.
  • The 180,787 ha station is New Zealand’s largest farm, running the country's biggest herd of beef cattle, numbering up to 10,000.
  • The 1347 m Island Saddle is the highest point on a publicly accessed road in New Zealand.
  • The weather here ranges from scorching summers to freezing snowy winters. 

Place overview


  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Four wheel driving
  • Horse riding
  • Hunting
  • Mountain biking
  • Rafting
  • Walking and tramping
  • Check clean dry
    Stop the spread of didymo and other freshwater pests.

    Remember to Check, Clean, Dry all items before entering, and when moving between, waterways.

In this section

Find things to do and places to stay Molesworth Station - Acheron Road open

About track difficulties
About track difficulties
About hut categories


Good trout and salmon fishing are available in the rivers, streams and lakes of Molesworth.  Please park your vehicle and walk, as off-road driving and driving on farm tracks is prohibited. Walking access is possible up stream margins and major rivers.

Fishing permitted only during the open season (October 1 to April 30) and requires a licence from Fish & Game New Zealand. Contact their Marlborough office, +64 3 578 8421 or Nelson office, +64 3 544 6382.

Anyone wanting access when the Acheron Road is closed must apply for a special permit from the South Marlborough Area Office.


Rafting. Photo: Neil Deans.

Rafting the Clarence River is a multi-day wilderness experience, offered by a number of adventure tourism companies employing qualified guides. Trips are generally four days and five nights.

Rafts are launched at the Acheron River confluence and the journey ends 214 kilometres later where the Clarence meets the sea. Rapids are a moderate grade two and three. October to December is the main rafting season, when water levels are sufficiently high.

Heritage sightseeing

Visitors to Molesworth can visit two of the cob buildings including the original homestead – the Molesworth Cob Cottage (1866) and the historic Acheron Accommodation House (1862).

The wide open spaces and expansive vistas help even the most neglected imagination experience the isolation and determination felt by early travellers.

Four wheel driving

You can drive on three roads through Molesworth Station. These roads are open for several months over the summer, and require an access permit at any other time. 

Horse riding

At all times of the year, you need to apply for an activity permit to ride through Molesworth.

Routes and logistics need to be carefully planned.

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    About this place

    Getting there

    From Blenheim, follow SH1 south, then turn right at the Awatere Valley intersection just north of Seddon and the Awatere Valley Bridge. A sign here will indicate whether the Acheron Road through Molesworth is open.

    From Hanmer, take Jacks Pass Road a short distance past the Hurunui i-SITE and about 750 metres along that road turn right into the Clarence Valley Road. Follow this road over the pass and turn right for Molesworth and the Acheron road.

    Know before you go

    Check if the road is open

    You can drive through Molesworth Station on the Acheron Road

    Acheron Road is currently open for the season. It will close at 7 pm on Monday 17 April 2017.

    The Acheron Road through Molesworth Station is open 7 am – 7 pm daily from the Saturday of Labour Weekend to Easter Monday or the second Sunday in April, whichever is the later date.

    It can close without warning due to weather conditions or fire danger. Check the current status.

    Molesworth care code

    Fires are prohibited: Fire risks damaging protected natural areas in Molesworth, exposing soil to erosion and destroying vegetation. It can also threaten critical winter feed for cattle. Open fires are not allowed, even in cottage fireplaces. Use portable stoves for cooking.

    Leave gates as you find them: Molesworth is a working farm. Ensure they are properly latched. Failing to shut a gate can mean days of extra work in re-mustering blocks and separating mixed mobs of cattle.

    If there is no gate and you need to cross a fence, climb carefully through or over the fence at a post or style.

    Keep vehicles to the formed roads which are provided for public access: This is a vast property where weather and road conditions can change rapidly; it is important that you can be found quickly if isolated. Off-road driving can damage fragile plants, spread weeds, and risks starting a fire.

    Dogs are prohibitedDogs endanger native wildlife and can upset and transfer diseases to livestock.

    Protect native plants and animals: Molesworth supports plant and animal species which are unique and often rare. Damaging or removing native plants and animals destroys part of this special environment.

    Help reduce the spread of weeds: Care must be taken not to carry plant material onto Molesworth, including checking for seeds and for aquatic weed plants on water craft.

    Remove rubbish: Rubbish is unattractive, harmful to farmed animals as well as wildlife and can increase vermin and disease. Plan your visits to reduce rubbish, and carry out what you carry in.

    Bury toilet waste: Use the toilets provided. Otherwise, bury your toilet waste in a hole well away from waterways, tracks, campsites, and huts. Campervans are not to discharge waste on Molesworth.

    Keep streams and lakes clean: When cleaning and washing, take the water and wash well away from the water source. Soaps and detergents are harmful to water-life, so tip used water into the soil where it will be filtered. Water may be contaminated so boil it for at least three minutes before drinking, filter, or chemically treat.

    Respect our cultural heritage: The historic buildings on Molesworth are a reminder of our past. Treat these places with consideration and respect.

    Enjoy your visit: Take a last look before leaving an area; will the next visitor know that you have been there? Protect the environment for your own sake, for the sake of those who come after you, and for the environment itself.

    Remember - your safety is your responsibility

    Toitu te whenua (Leave the land undisturbed)


    Download a print-formatted map of Molesworth Station (PDF, 624K)


    Tell us what you think about your recent visit to Molesworth Station and help us improve your experience next time.

    Useful contacts

    Fish & Game:
    Marlborough office, +64 3 578 8421
    Nelson office, +64 3 544 6382

    Rainbow Station:
    Star Holdings Limited, +64 3 545 7600, fax +64 3 545 7601


    Wairau / Renwick Office
    Phone:   +64 3 572 9100
    Address:   Gee Street
    Marlborough 7204
    Email:   renwick@doc.govt.nz
    Full office details
    Rotoiti / Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre
    Phone:   +64 3 521 1806
    Address:   View Road
    St Arnaud
    Email:   nelsonlakesvc@doc.govt.nz
    Full office details
    Rangiora Office
    Phone:   +64 3 313 0820
    Address:   32 River Road
    Rangiora 7400
    Email:   waimakariri@doc.govt.nz
    Full office details
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