Present-day Kurow, gateway to the high country, is a farm service community strategically located at the junction of SH82 and SH83. It enjoys a reputation for excellent fishing – both brown and rainbow trout – and hunting – ducks, Canada Goose, quail and chukor in season; rabbits, hares, pigs and wallabies year round.

The Waitaki, from Kurow to sea, is one of the country’s best jet boating rivers and also has good canoeing along many of its numerous braids.

The mountains around Kurow rise to 2,000 metres, the tallest of which is Te Kohurau. Awakino Skifield, in the St Marys Range, is a small club field with one ropetow and a friendly atmosphere.

Kurow has three churches, a good range of services and a wide range of accommodation from hotels to farm stays. For further information contact the Information Centre, Bledisloe Street +64 3 436-0950.

History of Kurow

Construction of the historic bridges across the Waitaki in the 1880’s led to a rapid development of Kurow and the surrounding area. Kurow had been the railhead since 1881, and many of its historically important limestone buildings trace their origins to this bustling era. Another stage in development arrived with the construction of the Waitaki Dam in the late 20’s and early 30’s.

The Hakataramea Valley

The low hills behind Hakataramea township hide the surprisingly large Hakataramea Valley from the Waitaki traveller. In the 1860’s the New Zealand and Australian Land Company leased most of the valley from the Crown. Settlers began free-holding from 1878 and settlement flourished when the Kurow bridges opened in 1881.

One hundred years of traditional farming practice came under scrutiny in 1985 following a drought and wind erosion of the soil. Farmers and scientists combined to find conservation tillage techniques and pest/drought tolerant plants, both of which protected the soil to provide sustainable pasture production.

The Hakataramea River, noted for its brown trout fly fishing, offers excellent swimming, picnicking and camping spots. In the early 1900’s it was the site of New Zealand’s first salmon hatchery, an endeavour that spawned the now famous Waitaki salmon fishery. The scenic drive to the headwaters, bounded by mountains to the west and hills to the east, then on through Haka Pass, is a superb introduction to the Mackenzie Country.

Things to do in Kurow