Introducing Murchison & Buller Gorge
Murchison, 125km southwest of Nelson and 95km east of Westport, is the northern gateway to the West Coast. It sits alongside the Buller River, just one of scores of rivers around this area. Kayaking, rafting and trout-fishing are popular here, but those who want to keep their feet dry might just manage it on a number of good walks.
From Murchison, State Hwy 6 snakes through Buller Gorge, a journey which could easily take a day or two by the time you've taken a rafting or jetboating trip and stopped at other interesting points along the way.
Your big decision on the gorge road is which way to head when you reach the forks at Inangahua Junction. Either continue along SH6 through the Lower Buller Gorge to Westport, or head south to Greymouth via Reefton on SH69.
The longer, more scenic SH6 leads to the many attractions up north. It also passes the Lyell, an interesting historic reserve and end of the Old Ghost Road trail which will soon reach right through to Mokihinui north of Westport (part of the New Zealand Cycle Trail). That said, Reefton certainly has its own merits.