Visit New Zealand’s extraordinary HOT spot…
…burning in Murchison since 1922!

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!

making pancakes!

Highlights of this half-day tour

  • Discover the unexpected sight of FLAMES surrounded by lush ferns
  • Enthusiastic, professional guides with local knowledge
  • Rarely visited beautiful, remote valleys
  • Stories and sights of Murchison's oil prospecting days
  • Hear about NZ's deer industry as we cross a working farm
  • Two hour bush walk through rich beech forest
  • Enjoy 'billy tea' and hotcakes cooked over the flames
  • See ancient mosses and native birds
  • Possible visit from our native robin!
  • Return transport in our 4wd vehicle
  • The ideal half day trip in Nelson Tasman, 'Top of the South' region

The Trip

our LandRover

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!

As seen on 3 News as seen on 3 News click to view video
Bare Kiwi Guide as seen on Bare Kiwi click to view video
Starting the walk at the far end of the farm we pass through clearings where we often encounter wild deer, before crossing a side stream.

Robins are a popular sighting

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.

Track Information

deer on the farm

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!

Guides

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!

Prices & Booking

Adults NZ$85
Children NZ$65

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.

Book Now!

Trip VOUCHERS available - contact us for details


Tour Times

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.

Terms & Conditions

  1. Minimum number of people on a trip is two.
  2. Instructions from the guides must be followed at all times, especially around the flames.
  3. Children must be under supervision at all times.
  4. If we have to cancel the tour due to unforeseen weather conditions, we will offer an alternative tour or a refund.
  5. Cancellation of the booking within 24 hours of the start of the booked trip (or a 'no-show') incurs a penalty of 100% of the total booking. We highly recommend travel insurance for those unforeseen circumstances which disrupt travel plans at the last minute.
Contact us at info@naturalflames.co.nz Or call 0800 MURCHISON (0800 687244)

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I wear?
Sensible walking shoes/boots. (No sandals or flip-flops!) Multi-layers including waterproof/windproof shell, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, walking pole if you use them. Perhaps dry footwear to change into once we have finished the walk.
Is the walk suitable for me?
Whether you are 8 or 80, as long as you can walk unassisted on rough tracks for up to sixty minutes at a time and have a sense of adventure you should be fine. (Especially if you have a liking for pancakes!)
What about the weather?
We are quite well protected from the rain whilst walking in the bush, so we generally still run the trip when it's raining! In the event of the side streams being too high to cross or other extraordinary weather conditions, we can offer an alternative tour or a refund .
birdie
Do you have a minimum trip number?
Scheduled trips need a minimum number of two to go ahead but we are happy to do a private trip for an individual (or groups). Please enquire about rates.
What is provided?
All transport to and from Murchison, exclusively negotiated access across private land; commentary from friendly, guides on the local history, geology, fauna and flora of the area; refreshments at the flames.

Please email us if you have any further questions.

Useful Information

Accommodation

Murchison Lodge

Comfortable and friendly B&B on four acres next to Buller river

Owen River Lodge

Five star Fishing Lodge in the Owen Valley

Riversong Cottages

Self-contained accommodation

Kiwi Park

Motels and Holiday Park

Triple Tui

Self-contained holiday accommodation

Accommodation further afield

Breakers

B&B on the Punakaiki coast

Bell Bird Lodge

B&B at Kaiteriteri

Teichelmanns

B&B in Hokitika

Fox Glacier Mountain View

B&B in Fox Glacier

Renmore House

B&B in Wanaka

Berry Farm Homestay

B&B in Wanaka

Activities

Ultimate descents

Rafting trips in the Whitewater capital of NZ

Wild Rivers Rafting

More rafting - further down the Buller river

Buller Gorge swing bridge and Jet Boat

The “Goldrush” jet boat ride, longest swingbridge and flying fox ride

Charleston caves

Underworld rafting and glow worms at Charleston Caves

Denniston Experience

Historical mine tours on the West Coast

Barrytown Knifemaking

Forge your own knife from steel and native wood

Tree top walkway

Walk amongst the tops of the trees of the West Coast bush

Okarito Boat Tours

Guided walks and boat tours to see the birdlife on Okarito lagoon

Okarito Nature Tours

Freedom or guided kayaking trips on Okarito lagoon

Fox Glacier Guides

Guided walks and heli-hikes on Fox Glacier

Eco Wanaka Adventures

Guided walks and boat trips around Lake Wanaka

Information

Nelson Lakes Shuttles

Shuttle service for Nelson, St Arnaud and Marlborough areas.

Bare Kiwi

Film clips from around New Zealand

Tourism New Zealand

Information about activities, accommodation and travel times

Find Us

New Zealand

About Us - Explore Murchison Ltd.

Guided Walks

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 info@exploremurchison.co.nz

Or call 0800 MURCHISON (0800 687244)

Shuttle Service for:

Walks

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.

Biking

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.

Kayaking

No 'shuttle bunny?' We can be one for you!

Fishing

Planning a one-way trip through up the Matakitaki? We can pick you up / drop you off.

Airport

Need a ride to the airport?

For all your shuttle requirements contact us on info@exploremurchison.co.nz or call 0800 MURCHISON (0800 687244)