Pelorus Bridge, Marlborough. © Jeff Hitchcock

Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve: enchanting rocky gorge

View the map


Not wanting to reduce this delightful little spot to its presence on the big screen, but the Pelorus Bridge, already quite a legend, was made even more famous when a bunch of hobbits floated down it tied to barrels.

Yes, it came to life under Sir Peter Jackson’s lens. But you certainly don’t need a camera crew and a gaffer, whatever that may be, to enjoy its charms.

Where the Rai meets the Pelorus River between Nelson and Blenheim is a unique location, intensely scenic, remarkably peaceful and rich in wildlife and history. Nearby Canvastown had a population of 3000 in the mid-1800s, the goldminers’ tents providing it with its name. They left town long ago, of course, but one of the last stands of original river-flat forest in the area remains, and it’s just exquisite.

The forest contains a canopied collection of beech and native rimu, kahikatea and totara and you can weave your way in amongst it, making use of several wide, easily negotiable tracks in the reserve.

If you want to stay a bit, the Kahikatea Flat Campground is a prime spot. Clearly it’s level (!), is located adjacent to the river, and also gives easy access to several swimming holes. You can enjoy that rural upbringing you think you missed out on, or relive the one you had. Camping out then waking to the sound of native birds, exploring swimming holes, hidden tracks, massive native trees: primo. And, when the light is just right, you might just see a hobbit, tied to a barrel, floating around the riverbend.

Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Nelson: living the good life

Tucked away at the top of the south, way off SH1, Nelson is a town of 50,000 people working hard at enjoying themselves writes Naomi Arnold. 

Find out more

Loved by the locals: Nelson

Do what the locals do in Nelson.

Find out more

Marlborough: From the vines to the sea

As the probable landing place of the first waka ever to visit New Zealand, Marlborough is the home of the very first people ever to travel to this country writes Nelson-based writer Naomi Arnold.


Find out more

Loved by the locals: Marlborough

Do what the locals do in Marborough.

Where to stay in Blenheim

Show me all Places to stay

From $125
Montana Lodge Motel

Welcome to Montana Lodge Motel. We have 12 comfortable ground-floor units, each with separate kitchen and bathroom facilities.Ideal for corporate ...

9 /10
From $140
171 On High Motel

Modern, Inviting, Central - FREE Ultra Fast Wi-Fi (2 Gb daily) Your hosts Donna & Paul welcome you when visiting Blenheim for business or pleasur...

Book now

From $38
Blenheim TOP 10 Holiday Park

Self-contained units $110 - $135, park motels $120 - $145, cabins $72 - $92 ( all for 2 persons), tourist lodge ideal option for groups (35 beds, 1...

Book now

9 /10
From $110
Phoenix Motor Inn

Welcome to Phoenix Motor Inn, a comfortable, modern motel and award-winning motel design with plenty of parking. Offering self-catering accommodati...

Book now