Beautiful morning outside Murchison

Image: Kathryn Aaker | Creative Commons


The multitude of rivers in the area makes Murchison a white water playground and an angler's paradise. DOC also has a number of short and day walks in the area.


With a population of approximately 750 people, Murchison has a museum, information centre, petrol station, and a wide variety of accommodation, several shops, hotels and cafés.

Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Fishing
  • Rafting
  • Walking and tramping

Find things to do and places to stay Murchison area

About this place

History and culture

The area is steeped in history from the days of the gold miners and early settlers.

In 1846 the well-known early New Zealand explorers Heaphy, Brunner and Fox—with their Māori guide, Kehu—were the first Europeans to see the area where Murchison now stands.

After gold was struck in the Upper Buller in the 1860s the Nelson Provincial Government lost no time in planning for a future settlement.

Murchison was taken from the name given by renowned geologist Julius von Haast to a nearby mountain in honour of a famous Scottish geologist.

Getting there

Murchison is centrally located in the upper South Island on SH6.

It's 2 hours south of Nelson, 2 hours 30 minutes west of Blenheim, 1 hour 30 minutes east of Westport and 4 hours northwest of Christchurch.

A number of companies offer bus services to Murchison from Nelson, Blenheim, the West Coast and Christchurch.

Know before you go

  • The purity of drinking water cannot be taken for granted. We recommend you boil, filter or treat your water. Avoid taking water from areas surrounded by farmland or where waterfowl are present in large numbers.
  • Wasps can be a nuisance, particularly from December until April. Carry antihistamine if you are allergic to their stings.
  • The presence of biting sandflies can detract from your experience in Murchison, especially during the summer months. The problem can be easily remedied by coating exposed skin with a good quality insect repellent.


Rotoiti / Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 521 1806
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   View Road
St Arnaud
Postal Address:   PO Box 55
St Arnaud 7053
Whakatū / Nelson Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 546 9339
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   Millers Acre/Taha o te Awa
79 Trafalgar Street
Nelson 7010
Postal Address:   Private Bag 5
Nelson 7042
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