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Welcome to Owen River Tavern & Motels, where adventure awaits at every turn. Nestled in the heart of nature, our pub offers a plethora of recreational activities for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds.

Cast your line and reel in the catch of the day with our trout fishing excursions, or feel the rush of adrenaline as you navigate the rapids with white-water rafting and kayaking trips. For those who prefer to explore on foot, our tramping trails will lead you through breathtaking landscapes and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Saddle up and embark on a horseback riding adventure through scenic trails, or test your skills with hunting expeditions in the surrounding wilderness. For the more adventurous souls, delve into the depths of the earth with caving expeditions that will leave you in awe of nature's wonders.

At our country pub, the possibilities for outdoor fun are endless. Whether you seek relaxation or thrill-seeking excitement, our diverse range of activities promises an unforgettable experience for all who visit. Come join us and immerse yourself in the beauty and adventure that awaits in our slice of paradise.


The silvery sea-run brown trout is king in South Island waters.  The district has a heavy trout population, averaging just over 3 lb.  The Buller and Owen Rivers both carry good heads of fish, as do Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoroa.

National Parks

The region is home to the Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi National Parks. The Nelson Lakes National Park protects 102,000 hectares of the northern most Southern Alps and offers tranquil beech forest, craggy mountains, clear streams and lakes both big and small.

Kahurangi is one of New Zealand's newest and the second largest national park.  Translated its name has a number of meanings including "treasured possession", an apt description of its wonderfully diverse natural and recreational values.  The park lets you explore wild rivers, high plateaux and alpine herb fields, and coastal forests.


The Mount Owen region has some of the largest systems of underground caves in the southern hemisphere with examples of ice caves and ice speleothems.  The marble mountains contain all of New Zealand's deepest caves, as well as the three longest caves - Bulmer Cavern (66 km) at Mt Owen, Ellis Basin System (37 km), and Nettlebed Cave (24 km), both at Mt Arthur.

New passages are still being discovered and 2010 marked the 20th New Year expedition to Bulmer Cavern run by members of the New Zealand Speleological Society. These expeditions have become a tradition and have kept the exploration doggedly going through the years when the cave seemed to have come to an end.

Other Sporting Activities

Murchison is the "Whitewater Kayak Capital" of New Zealand and is in one of the best intermediate boating areas in the world - the Buller river catchment.

The New Zealand Kayak School is a friendly, kayaker-oriented operation based in Murchison. They run residential whitewater kayak courses for beginner, intermediate and advanced boaters.

Ultimate Descents in Murchison offer rafting and kayaking trips that will enable people from all walks of life to discover the adventure of whitewater river travel in a safe and enjoyable atmosphere.

Only short drive away from us is the nine hole Murchison Golf Course in a lovely setting on the bank of the Buller River and the Murchison Bowling club is not far.

The Buller Gorge is the home of NZ's longest swing bridge. You can take a fantastic jet boat ride there too, pan for gold then return across the river on a comet line!

The wide, uncrowded slopes of Rainbow Ski Area provide superb terrain for beginner and intermediates while advanced skiers can challenge themselves in the high powder runs and chutes. Boarders love the varied terrain, jumps, bumps and drops.

Scenic Walks / Tramping

Lake Rotoroa Flower Brothers Walk, 15 min return
From Lake Rotoroa car park, this track passes through a stand of kahikatea and around the lake outlet emerging on the road near Lake Rotoroa Lodge.

Kahikatea Walk, 20 min
An easy loop track abutting the Murchison camping ground at the eastern end of town. The Kahikatea Reserve features many fine specimens of kahikatea and matai trees and a lush ferny understorey.

Lake Rotoroa Short Loop Track, 25 min return
Starting at the lakeside picnic area, this walk follows the lake shore before leading through a diverse stand of forest, returning to the start point via the Porika 4WD road and the campsite.

Kawatiri Historic Walk, 40 min
Located at Kawatiri Junction at the intersection of State Highway 6 and 63, only 16 kilometres east from Owen River. This easy walk follows a short section of the line of the former railway track that ran from Nelson towards Murchison. The walk commences from a car park with information panels detailing the rich history of the area. After some 200 metres the track crosses an old rail bridge before passing through a train tunnel built in 1923. The track returns via beech forest above the Hope River closing the loop at the entrance to the tunnel.


Lake Matiri Track, 1 hr 30 min
This full day walk takes you on a tramping track to tranquil Lake Matiri. Access is via the Matiri Valley road approximately 6 km north of Murchison.

Lyell Walkway, 1 hr 30 min
This 3 km walkway leads you past the remaining features of the once booming township of Lyell - the cemetery, stamping battery and gold mining sites. There are information panels on-site and a campground nearby.

Maruia Falls Track, 10 min return
Accessed from State Highway 65, 23 kilometres south of Murchison, the Maruia Falls track starts from the carpark and descends to the Maruia River bank. From here there is an excellent viewpoint of the falls, which were created following the 1929 earthquake. Return to the carpark the way you came.


Six Mile Walk, 1 hr 30 min return
This walkway is situated 10 km south of Murchison on the Matakitaki Road. It starts and finishes at the old Six Mile hydro power station by the Six Mile Creek Bridge. The track zigzags 50 metres uphill beside the old penstock to the intake and water storage reservoir. From here the track initially follows the water race before continuing in the forest on a higher terrace. The track then leads to a viewing platform above the old weir which diverts some of the Six Mile Creek down the water race.

On the return there is the option of a loop track which descends from the upper terrace to follow along the water race, before rejoining the main track.


Skyline Walk, 1 hr 30 min return
This 3 km track is located 1 km west of Murchison, at the junction of State Highway 6 and Matakitaki West Bank Road. The track zigzags uphill to the skyline. The biggest river that can be seen from here is the Buller which eventually flows into a gorge - perhaps the most scenic gorge in New Zealand.

Lake Rotoroa Braeburn Walk, 2 hr return
From Braeburn Road, follow this well-graded track through forest rich in bird life to a picturesque waterfall. See the kotukutuku, the world’s largest tree fuschia, unique to New Zealand.


Johnsons Creek Track, 2 hr return
Access to this track is up the Matakitaki West Bank Road, located 1 km west of Murchison. After a short stretch of tar-sealed road continue along the gravel road for 6 km. A sign and a small parking area are on your left with the start of the track to the right.

The track follows a creek then gradually climbs to the toe of a big slip. This slip was formed in the 1929 Murchison earthquake and is the feature piece of the walk. The track terminates in the middle of the old slip amongst the struggling vegetation, leaving the visitor with a good idea of the magnitude of the shake.

Courthouse Flat to Granity Pass Hut, 6 hr - 8.3 km (tramping track)

There are two options for the first section of this track. Both are well signposted and take a similar amount of time.

The first option is to walk up the ridge between Granity and Blue Creeks. This is a very open track that can be hot on a summer's day. Ensure you carry plenty of water.

The second option is to walk up Blue Creek Track taking you past old gold mining relics and workings. The track follows Blue Creek for approximately 20 minutes then heads up through beech forest and joins the other track.

Where these tracks join there is a climb to a clearing offering views to the north and west. Cross the clearing and head down through the forest to a saddle. The next section, called 'The Staircase' descends steeply before sidling around marble bluffs and down into blue Creek. From here it is not long to Granity Pass Hut, follow the usually dry marble creek bed to the hut on the true left bank of the stream. There are limited sites in the tussock around Granity Pass Hut for camping, but camp near the hut to minimise the impact on the mountain.

Granity Pass Hut to Mt Owen, 7hr return (unmarked route)

From Granity Pass Hut follow the route through a large area of tussock grassland. There are no track markers or snow poles from this point onwards. Keep to the east of Sentinel Hill, and then walk through a saddle past several small tarns. From the other side of this saddle, a series of rock cairns lead uphill to the summit.

This route will be difficult and dangerous to follow in snow, misty or bad weather. A map is essential for navigation. Return to Granity Pass Hut the way you came.

Owen Valley East Road to Mt Owen Summit - Sunrise Peak route, 7 hr (route)

*This is the most difficult approach to Mt Owen, challenging and requiring a high level of fitness and experience.

The track crosses farmland for approximately 2 km before entering the forest. The river is crossed several times before the track climbs steeply up Sunrise Ridge to the bushline.

Note: Once you leave the Owen River there is no water supply, remember to carry your own.

Above the bushline, scramble up through the thick tussock and steep scree fields to the ridge below Sunrise Peak. Continue northwards towards Mt Owen. Good visibility is essential for route finding. There are no markers or rock cairns above the bushline. Bushline to Mt Owen summit is 3 hours.

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