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.