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By Clare Moore, Community Relations Ranger, Marlborough

If you’re not keen on camping you obviously haven’t explored one of our lovely Marlborough conservation campsites.

Family campers walking at Momorangi campsite.

Momorangi campsite

I know campers can be a bit picky, so we cater to a range of campers and camping styles; from lush forest settings, to sandy beaches and shimmering lakes.

You can camp in scenic surroundings from as little as $6 a night.

Wilderness wanderer

For the wilderness wanderer, camping is definitely about getting away from it all. A bit of bush or forest perhaps, or maybe a tranquil lake or a bubbling brook… Ah, the serenity!

To satisfy your quest for peace and quiet, campsites off the beaten track are your best bet. They have toilets and a water supply (possibly a stream), and that’s probably it! You don’t need to book them either and some are even free.

In Marlborough there lots of campsites which would suit the wilderness wanderer, especially those in the Marlborough Sounds which you need a boat to reach, like Putanui Point, South Arm and Tawa Bay.

Awatere Valley in Molesworth Station. Photo: Gregor Ronald (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Molesworth Station. Photo: Gregor Ronald

If you are travelling by car you could visit Titirangi Farm Park in the outer Kenepuru Sound, Cob Cottage in Molesworth or Whatamango Bay on the Port Underwood Rd.

Family camper

Family campers have young ones that can dictate where you can go.

To keep them happy, and yourself sane, you’ll need access to activities in the area to occupy them—and it wouldn’t hurt to have a few facilities to help make things simpler.

Most family campers don’t mind having other families and campers around, and like the idea that an ice-cream treat isn’t too far away!

Pelorus Bridge and Whites Bay are perfect for families – good facilities, safe swimming areas, plenty of walks and not too far to travel.

White's Bay beach at the White's Bay campsite.

White’s Bay beach


If the thought of camping freaks you out a little, because you don’t want to use a long drop and would rather not go without a shower, then you might just be a glamper (glamour camper). You know that camping is a fun, social summer ‘must-do’, but you want to ease in to it gently.

At these sites there may not be cell phone reception, and there won’t be a power plug for your hair straightener sorry, but you will find showers and won’t be too far from an ice cream, or a coffee if you’re lucky!

Glampers in Marlborough should check out French Pass campsite or Momorangi Bay.

The beach at the French Pass campsite.

French Pass campsite

Check out the DOC website to find links to more conservation campsites in Marlborough, and the rest of New Zealand, and dust off your tent, air out the chilly bin, and get out and create some long-lasting memories in our great outdoors.

Thanks for all your comments telling us why you want this fantastic book. The giveaway is now closed and the winner (picked at random) is Cathy Brown.

For the last 15 months, retired DOC stalwart, Harry Broad, has been researching the history of Molesworth Station—New Zealand’s largest farm (now conservation land).

The result is a stunning book, created in association with photographer Rob Suisted and Craig Potton Publishing.

Book cover: Molesworth—Stories from New Zealand’s Largest High-Country Station.

Today, thanks to Craig Potton Publishing, we’ve got a signed copy to give away.

But first, let’s take a closer look at Molesworth…

The mystique of Molesworth

What is it about Molesworth that has seen it retain its fascination for the public over many years?

First, the scale is truly vast (180 000 hectares), being bigger in size than Stewart Island, and stretching almost from Hanmer to the top of the Awatere Valley.

'Like riding through a painting' is how one cyclist described cycling through Molesworth.

‘Like riding through a painting’ is how one cyclist described
cycling through Molesworth

It is largely mountainous country and the overwhelming impression as you travel through it is one of hugely imposing landscapes that dwarf its rivers and dominate the horizons.

The history of Molesworth

Molesworth has a fascinating history. The private lessees walked off the run in 1937, crippled by low wool prices, snowstorms that could decimate sheep flocks, and being overrun by rabbits.

The horses are being walked down the Driving Spur.

The herd comes down the Driving Spur—cattle steam merging with the mist

The Department of Lands and Survey deserves enduring credit for rebuilding the station into ecological and economic health.

They appointed the legendary Bill Chisholm as manager who, along with his wife Rachel, rejuvenated the ruined landscape.

But Bill wasn’t big on public access, and for years the station was off limits.

An early morning start at the Yarra Hut, with stars still in the sky.

Early morning at the Yarra Hut

In 1987 Molesworth Station was finally opened to the public for a limited season—to drive through the main valley of the Acheron.

Eighteen years later, in 2005, Molesworth became public conservation land—managed by the Department of Conservation, in association with Landcorp Farming.

Today, the 8,000 strong cattle herd at Molesworth Station (the biggest herd in the country) is matched by the number of visitors each year—all enjoying the magic and mystique of this iconic high country reserve.

Visit Molesworth

When visiting Molesworth Station be prepared for a land of extremes. This vast landscape contains craggy scree-scarred mountains, wide river valleys and tussock slopes as well as tiny inconspicuous endangered plants. Its weather ranges from scorching summers to freezing snowy winters.

A rafting trip setting out down the Clarence River to the river mouth.

A rafting trip setting out down the Clarence River

Experience Molesworth for yourself during the open access periods, by car, bike, horse or on foot. Learn about the history from interpretation panels, camp outside the Cob Cottage, picnic by the mighty Acheron River or enjoy walks from 10 minutes to several days duration.


If you’d like to win a copy of Molesworth: Stories from New Zealand’s largest high-country station, leave a comment on this post before 12 noon on Wednesday 27 November 2013 telling us why you want the book.

A winner will be selected at random and contacted by email.

Please note: We can only ship to New Zealand addresses.

Molesworth: Stories from New Zealand’s largest high-country station is valued at $69.99 and is available in most good bookstores; in many DOC visitor centres; and online at Craig Potton Publishing.

Learn more about Molesworth on the DOC website

History of Molesworth Station

Visiting Molesworth Station