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πŸš— self-drive itinerary

πŸ›οΈ minimum 2 night stay recommended

🍽️ dining suggestions offered

πŸ“… visit any time of year


The Buller Gorge is always a highlight to this part of New Zealand, traversing through dramatic scenery. Mining town, Reefton was the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to have electric streetlights. Explore the honeydew forest and mountains of Nelson Lakes National Park, enjoy fishing the Owen River, or visit Murchison for white-water thrills – there are fast running rivers in every direction.


Highlights can include:

  • the wild and insanely picturesque Buller Gorge winds through a river valley along State Highway 6 - make sure you have your camera ready for Kilkenny Lookout and keep your head low through Hawks Crag πŸ“ΈπŸš—
  • Lewis Pass Scenic Reserve's Alpine Nature Walk provides an opportunity to break up a long drive while enjoying spectacular scenery and beech forest πŸŒ²πŸ‘Ÿ
  • Nelson Lakes National Park is an enchanting alpine landscape of rugged peaks, forests and stunning glacial lakes - ensure you walk one of the Lake Rotoiti Walks at the very least πŸ”οΈπŸ‘Ÿ
  • Buller Gorge Swingbridge is the longest swingbridge in New Zealand, with short bush walks taking in the White Creek Faultline, and gold mining sites
  • Ultimate Descents offer exhilarating white water rafting adventures in the Buller River Gorge with options for families, right through to thrillseekers
  • discover walking tracks that lead to untouched landscapes, and through pristine beech forest in Victoria Forest ParkπŸŒ²πŸ‘Ÿ
  • experience pure thrill and speed along the scenic Buller Gorge, enjoying a mind-blowing 40 minute Jet Boat Adventure with Buller Canyon Jet 
  • walk to the perpetually burning flames, a unique site near Murchison, and a flaming good bush walk with The Natural Flames Experience (see video) πŸ”₯
  • fishing enthusiasts will love Owen River and the surrounding 29 rivers, streams and waterways, the best sighted brown trout fishery in the world πŸŽ£



πŸ“ # of Visitors 3.5

🐚 Beaches 1.0

🌦️ Chance of Rain 4.0

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦β€πŸ‘¦ Family Fun 2.0

πŸ›’ Shopping 1.5

🍽️ Food + Wine 4.0

πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ LGBTQI+ friendly πŸ‘

Note: the highest possible score is an 8.0


πŸŽ₯video courtesy of The Natural Flames Experience on YouTube


Length of stay
  • Sit back and relax. We've planned it all for you.


    Day 1 : Arrive in Buller Gorge + Nelson Lakes

    You'll travel to this region today, arriving either by car or coach. Upon arrival into the Buller Gorge + Nelson Lakes region you'll check in to your accommodation, settle in and get acquainted with your surroundings for the next 2 nights.


    This afternoon, venture on the short nature walks on the shores of Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National Park and take that classic photo over the jetty.  


    Day 2 : naked flames in a forest or get ready for white-water rapids

    Today you'll have the choice between two very different experiences.


    Climb aboard a 4WD and be driven up a beautiful, remote valley, passing by capped oil wells and learn about the oil drilling history that began last century in the region.  You'll then journey across rough tracks and paddocks to the far end of the farm where you'll start your 'flaming good bush walk'.  You'll enjoy learning more about the flora and fauna as you go, until you stumble across the remarkable sight that is flames flickering on the floor of the forest, surrounded by ferns and shielded from above by beech trees.  Enjoy β€˜billy’ tea over the flames and cook pancakes, eaten with bush-honey while soaking up the atmosphere of this magical spot.


    Alternatively, you could spend time white-water rafting the mighty Buller River  tackling rapids from grade 2-4. You get to check out the famous Ariki Falls and pink granite canyon along with other rapids like O’Sullivan’s rapid, Jet Boat rapid and Whale Creek.  Big pools in between the rapids are great for swimming and relaxing in or the perfect time for having a good yarn. When the river is running high, we have options to run other sections of grade 3-4 white water which may include the Granity rapids and white water mile or the mystical Mangles River.  As a bonus, we provide photos of your tour for FREE.


    Tonight, you'll be treated to a delicious meal at one of our favourite restaurants in the area.


    Day 3 : Depart Buller Gorge + Nelson Lakes

    This morning, we'll let you know the best way to get from this region to the next part of your New Zealand trip, perhaps taking a small detour to discover the Lewis Pass Scenic Reserve or to take in Kilkenny Lookout, before continuing on to your next destination wherever you want that to be.