Flat and upper Acheron, Molesworth Station

Image: Rob Suisted | ©


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


  • At Molesworth, 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 reserve 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

In this section

Find things to do and places to stay Molesworth Recreation Reserve

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

Watch out for wasps, especially in late summer and autumn.

Check if the road is open

You can drive through Molesworth via the Acheron Road

Acheron Road is closed for the season. It will reopen Saturday 26 October 2019 during Labour Weekend. 

The Acheron Road through Molesworth Recreational Reserve will 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.

Historic Buildings

The Acheron Accommodation House and the Cob Cottage buildings are not to be used for overnight stay. Please camp outside.

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)


The need for bylaws is identified in the Molesworth Management Plan where they are required to implement public access provisions of the lease and provisions of the Reserves Act 1977 that affect the public. This includes regulation of public access, camping, fires and animals, amongst other things. View the bylaws.


Download a print-formatted map of Molesworth (PDF, 1,263K)

Useful contacts

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

Rainbow Station:
Contact Rainbow Station via:


Wairau / Renwick Office
Phone:   +64 3 572 9100
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   renwick@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Gee Street
Marlborough 7204
Postal Address:   PO Box 51
Marlborough 7243
Rotoiti / Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 521 1806
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   nelsonlakesvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   View Road
St Arnaud
Postal Address:   PO Box 55
St Arnaud 7053
Rangiora Office
Phone:   +64 3 313 0820
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   esienquiries@doc.govt.nz
Address:   32 River Road
Rangiora 7400
Postal Address:   PO Box 349
Rangiora 7440
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