In the 1920's, oil prospectors smelt natural gas seeping out of the ground in the bush and put a match to it; the subsequent flames have been burning ever since!
In 2012, access across a privately owned working deer farm was obtained, enabling the general public to see to these extraordinary 'Flames in the Forest' for the first time.
Join us to explore this mysterious HOT spot!
The half-day adventure starts when you climb aboard our vehicle in Murchison, from where we have a short drive up a beautiful, quiet valley, passing a capped oil well and discovering more about the history and geology of the area.
After signing in, we drive across rough tracks through paddocks and hear about the deer farming industry. Depending on the season we may see hinds with fawns, stags battling or watch a livestock auction. We may even be fortunate enough to encounter a member of the wild emu family that have made a home here!
We soon enter rich, pristine beech bush, full of ancient mosses and ferns. Native birds encountered include bellbirds, tuis, kakariki, tomtits and friendly fantails before eventually arriving at the spot where natural gas is seeping out of a dry stream bed.
It is a spooky feeling to see flames coming out of the ground surrounded by lush ferns and beech trees!
We stop here for a while to drink 'billy tea' and eat pancakes cooked over the flames with local honey made in the very bush we have been walking in! Often we are visited by our native robin who flits around the fire whilst checking out who has come to visit!
We then retrace our steps to our vehicle and return to Murchison – with a possible stop at the Honey farm along the route – having been away for about four hours.
The return bush walk can take up to two hours. The track is rough and unformed, with exposed tree roots; some minor scrambling is involved. Please note that in wet conditions so you may get damp feet!
Our friendly, experienced guides have a variety of backgrounds but we all have a passion for the outdoors and for sharing their local knowledge with others. With high professional standards you can be assured of their care for your safety and enjoyment during the trip.
No-one ever knows everything of course but we promise that if we don't know the answer to any question, we will do our best to find out for you one way or another!
Children must be between 8 and 15 years inclusive and must be accompanied by an adult. This trip is generally not suitable for children 7 years or younger.
Tours generally pick-up outside the Murchison Information Centre and start at 9.30am and 2pm unless otherwise arranged. Please contact us if a different time would suit your party.
Our normal guide to client ratio is 1:8 which keeps the experience small and personal. This means places are limited so it is advisable to book to guarantee a place.
For bookings, email us using the "Book Now" button - or phone 0800 687244.
Please email us if you have any further questions.
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Shuttle service for Nelson, St Arnaud and Marlborough areas.
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Information about activities, accommodation and travel times
We provide a guided service to local spots of interest. Our most popular walk is 'The Natural Flames Experience' but if you wish to explore other local trails around Murchison we can offer many different options.
Want something easier or shorter? How about the 'Johnson Creek track' or the 'Six-mile Stream' track?
Perhaps, you have already seen 'The Flames'? How about a trip into the bush following an old water race to see an old traction engine? It was driven in years ago and used to cut beech logs into fluming for the gold workings but it is now all but forgotten.
Contact us and we are sure we will find something suitable to your requirements, whether it's for a couple of hours or all day - we would be delighted to show you some of the reasons that we live here - and love it!
We, the owners, Merve & Shirley Bigden met at an Outward Bound school in the UK (over 20 years ago now!) and have worked in Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, Australia. We now spend most of our time in New Zealand but manage to do a bit of travel in the (NZ!) winter. We still enjoy the Outdoors - and encouraging others to do so!
For all your guided walking requirements contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call 0800 MURCHISON (0800 687244)
If you are planning a trip into the hills for a few days but do not want to leave your vehicle at the trail-head, we can get you there. Going into the 1000 acre plateau? Across the Mole tops in to the Nelson Lakes? Let us drop you off.
Want to do the Maruia Saddle but don't want to bike the main road? Taking the challenge over the Porika and Braeburn Saddles? Let us take you and your bikes to the start.
No 'shuttle bunny?' We can be one for you!
Planning a one-way trip through up the Matakitaki? We can pick you up / drop you off.
Need a ride to the airport?
For all your shuttle requirements contact us on email@example.com or call 0800 MURCHISON (0800 687244)