Explore New Zealand’s newest wine region. With the braided Waitaki River running past Kurow, there are beautiful wetlands to explore, and a Braided River Jetboat trip will get you up close to the bird life and stories of what makes the braided river so unique and special. Unlike other jetboat tours, Braided River Tours can be made as high adrenaline or as peacefully idyllic as you would like.  

Kurow is a rural stopover that cradles its fair share of scenery, culture and entry into the Waitaki Whitestone aspiring Geopark.  

Formally a service town for those who came seeking their fortunes during the gold rush, the town became a base for the building of the Waitaki Dam and forming Lake Waitaki, as the first in a series of hydroelectric projects were carried out on Waitaki River.

Kurow is also a feature of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail. The off-road trail starts at the eastern end of Kurow between the museum sheds. You can head west towards the Waitaki dam and Ōtemātātā.

Little known fact, Kurow birthed the first social security scheme for NZ, and is well known for growing All Black Richie McCaw—you can discover more about both at the Kurow Museum and Information Centre, open weekdays 10am-3pm, on the aptly named Bledisloe street.

Two doors down from the museum you can stop for a rest or a plentiful meal at the historic 1864 Kurow Hotel. It’s one of the town’s few heritage buildings still in use. You really can’t miss it; with a bright blue and yellow façade it’s a two-storey tribute as a result of one previous owner drinking DB and the other preferring Speights.

The recent development into Viticulture within the North Otago and Waitaki Wine region is a unique success story and you’ll want to visit those with cellar doors, such as River T, to sample the delicate tones born from the arid climate and limestone rich soils.

To see Mother Nature at its most soul-stirring stop off at Grey Street and make the 45-minute climb up Kurow Hill walkway for panoramic views of the Hakataramea Valley.


Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail

New Zealand’s longest and most spectacular cycle trail – this is a trail not to be missed. The name says it all; start at Aoraki Mt Cook in the heart of the stunning Southern Alps or the equally beautiful Lake Tekapo Village and wind your way round mountains, deep-blue lakes and canals, then rolling farmland before meeting the Pacific Ocean on the edge of Oamaru Harbour.

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Aviemore Dam

The Aviemore Hydro-Dam was constructed during the 1960s and became fully operational in 1968. The Aviemore’s generators are the largest in New Zealand, generating enough electricity each year for about 120,000 New Zealand homes. The pipes that carry water into the power station, called “penstocks,” are the largest in New

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Braided River Jet Boating

Jetboating with a difference.
These tailormade braided river experiences will have your heart pumping with each turn or will have gazing out at wildlife that is unique to the braided river system. Each trip is tailor-made to your preferences. Choose from an adventure to the Waitaki Hydro-Dam, out toward the Pacific Ocean, or hours sight-seeing and maybe a bit of fishing.

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Grants Rd Loop

Biking route Time : 1-2 hoursDistance : approximately 29km From Kurow, head east along the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail (A2O), exiting down the Oteake River flood route (11km in) which brings you out nearly opposite Grants Rd. Exit through the gate, cross SH83, head up Grants Rd to the top

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Hakataramea Loop

Biking route Time : approximately 2hDistance : 30km From Kurow, cross the Waitaki River via SH82 and turn left onto Hakataramea Valley Rd. Carry on following the Hakataramea River until Wrights Crossing. After crossing the river here, turn right onto McHenrys Rd to head back down the valley onto SH82

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Kurow Museum

See first hand how our forefathers coped with life. With photographs and exhibits the museum tells a story that is unique to the Waitaki Valley. The Waitaki has been a region of great developments in agriculture, hydroelectricity and social reforms – learn about these and more at the Kurow Museum

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Kurow town loop

Biking route Time : 45 minutes Distance : approximately 7km Starting at the Kurow shops, head along the A2O to the first creek, Kurow Creek. Instead of crossing, head up the first A2O flood route (3km in), crossing SH83 into Settlement Rd. Follow Settlement Rd past the refuse centre and

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Kurow Wetlands

The Kurow Wetlands were constructed and maintained by local volunteers to preserve and protect the stunning natural environment and wildlife in the braided river environment.

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Lake Waitaki

Lake Waitaki is the smallest, oldest and farthest downstream of the three man-made lakes of the Waitaki hydroelectric scheme. Close to Kurow, Lake Waitaki is below Aviemore and Benmore on the Waitaki River. It a great spot, popular for water-sports and fishing.

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River-T Wines Cellar Door

River-T Estate is a small boutique vineyard with a mix of grape varieties, on the banks of the Waitaki River. River-T Estate cellar door has the largest stock of Waitaki wines in the world.

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