Date: 24 October 2013
As of 9 October 2013, the iconic Molesworth Station is working to a new plan, a new Management Plan. One significant change announced in the Molesworth Management Plan (though it was developed independently of the management plan process) is an extended Acheron Road open period.
This year instead of opening at the end of December, as it has in the last several years, visitors wanting to travel through the heart of Molesworth along the Acheron Road can do so from Labour Day weekend through to Easter.
The term ‘iconic’ is often used in conversations about Molesworth. Molesworth conversations also usually include that the 180,787 hectare station (bigger than Stewart Island/Rakiura) runs the country's biggest herd of beef cattle, numbering up to 10,000. Or that Molesworth is so big that the altitude ranges from 549 metres to over 2100 metres. Or that almost half of the over 60 endemic (found only in New Zealand) plant species found in South Marlborough grow on Molesworth.
“We know that the public has wanted more time to be able to explore this majestic place” explains Dave Hayes; Department of Conservation Partnership Manager. “The trick has been balancing the desires of the public with the need to run a viable farming operation”
“Landcorp has had to dramatically alter their farming operations to allow for the extended road open period, and we are grateful for the effort they have put into making this work.’
In addition to the high country farming tradition and histories, Molesworth is a Recreation Reserve managed by the Department of Conservation and is valued for a range of reasons—its wide open landscape, the indigenous ecosystems and species it supports, and the historical and cultural heritage that travellers, both Māori and Pākehā, and graziers have left behind. Overlaid upon this set of values is a strong interest from the public to visit and experience Molesworth.
Fundamentally, the Molesworth Management Plan outlines how the balance will be struck between protecting natural, and historical and cultural heritage, fostering recreation, and maintaining a viable farming operation.
Experience Molesworth for yourself during the open periods, by car, bike, horse or on foot. Learn about the history from interpretation panels, camp outside the historic Cob Cottage or Acheron Accommodation House, picnic by the mighty Acheron River or enjoy walks from 10 minutes to several days duration.
The Acheron Road will be open from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm from 26 October to 21 April. The 207-kilometre journey between Blenheim to Hanmer Springs follows the Awatere River, crosses Wards Pass to follow the Acheron to its confluence with the Clarence River.
The Acheron Road may be closed due to weather conditions or for safety reasons, status can be checked 24 hours a day by contacting DOC Marlborough District Office +64 3 572 9100.
The road is unsealed and suitable for two wheel drive cars. Vehicles towing trailers, caravans, buses or vehicles over 7 metres long are not permitted unless under exceptional circumstances and with special permission.
Tel: +64 3 572 9783