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“Amazing flames in the forest”

The Natural Flames Experience - Day Tours
Ranked #3 of 7 things to do in Murchison
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Really? Flames continually burning in a forest for over 90 years - why doesn't it burn down? See for yourself the extraordinary sight of dancing flames, fed by a natural gas seep, surrounded by lush ferns and ancient beech trees. Have ‘billy tea’ and pancakes cooked over the flames. Half-day trip includes two hour guided walk, 4WD transport and a visit to a working deer farm in a beautiful valley full of oil prospecting history.
Reviewed 3 January 2014

I really enjoyed this trip, there are so very few other places in the world to see this kind of natural phenomenon! I'm a geologist and have seen quite a few oil seeps and tar pits, but this was up there with the best of them. The bush walk requires sturdy footwear, but the honeydew ecosystem is wonderfully displayed and the pancakes were delicious :)

Thank avmm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Merve B, Owner at The Natural Flames Experience - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 15 January 2014

Thanks for your review.
From a scientific perspective, yes there are a few other gas seeps burning around the world. We have seen the 'Chimera' in Turkey for instance - along with the crowds!
The special thing about the ‘Natural Flames’ is that, as far as we know, it is the only spot worldwide that flames are burning within a forest - and the honey on the pancakes is supplied from the amazing honeydew system you mention.
We have also been amazed at how many people say that the walk-in is worth doing - even if the flames were not there!
Good advice about stout shoes - especially when it has been raining for a while as it had been.

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65 - 69 of 82 reviews

Reviewed 25 November 2013

Beautiful walk through the forest accompanied by a very knowledgeable and friendly guide, the groups are kept under 8 people which makes the tour friendly and intimate. Merve took us on our wonderful 2 hour hike through to the flames (which became a bit of a scramble in places, so good walking shoes are a must!) where he made the best pancakes and tea on the flames. The flames were a wonder to see and definitely worth the detour.

When we returned to town we realised that my partner's wallet had fallen out of his pocket. Merve and Shirley were fantastic, they helped us look through the Land Rover and Shirley took us back to the trail and spent her afternoon walking the trail looking for the wallet. Thanks to their help we found it, saving the hassle of cancelling all our cards whilst abroad.

Highly recommend this tour, friendly owners who are willing to go above and beyond to make your trip special. One of the highlights of our trip to New Zealand.

Thank LouThomas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Merve B, Owner at The Natural Flames Experience - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 27 November 2013

We were so glad you got your wallet back Lou, saving you lots of hassle!
Travelling ourselves for many years, we have often been on the receiving end of exceptional help and friendliness by people we could never hope to repay. So it is good to 'pass it on' in some way - to keep the goodwill flowing around the world!!
Kali was tired from doing the trip twice that day - but every time she passes the place she 'sniffed' your wallet out, her tail wags and she goes to see if something else is there!
Glad your overall impression of the Flames is positive despite your stress that day. Thanks for the review!

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Reviewed 22 April 2013

A really unusual experience, and something to see. We had a lot of rain ( late season), but Merve kept us cheerful on the lovely walk up through the pasture and forest. Farmed and wild deer, emus, robins and fantails on our walk. The burning gas coming through the shale and rock is something to see. As it was wet the water coming through the shale was boiling in the flames, hissing and popping. Merve is a great and knowledgeable guide. Many thanks

Thank astonman
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mervetheswerve, Owner at The Natural Flames Experience - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 23 April 2013

Thanks Astonman. We needed the rain but perhaps not all at once!! Definitely one of those days where feet were NOT going to stay dry whatever we did!
One of the first times we have needed the umbrellas to sit under at the Flames - thanks for trying them out.
Yes, even if it's raining the birds are still around - and its fascinating to see the water boiling around the Flames!
Good on you all for staying cheerful when wet!

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Reviewed 17 April 2013

Having just returned from our annual 2 months pilgrimage to New Zealand (South Island), we have added another ESSENTIAL MUST SEE/DO which should ;not remain hidden or indeed a close secret. It is modestly described as "The Natural Flame Experience" and combines an exciting 2 hour trek through rarely visited, beautiful remote valleys (expertly guided by 2 knowledgeable local enthusiasts) - with a totally surprising climax - natural gas seeping out of the ground (since the 1920's) and the unexpected flames surrounded by bush and fern. The hike is not demanding and the tour starts in Murchison - in a 4 wd vehicle - to reach the trail head. Altogether a most unusual, mysterious adventure. Your guides are Mervin and Shirley Bigden, who also own and run what we consider the be the South Island's best B^B. Contact:www.naturalflames.co.nz
,,

Thank George R
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mervetheswerve, Owner at The Natural Flames Experience - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 19 April 2013

Thanks George. It was great to see both you again - and glad we managed to get you to see the 'Flames' after telling you about them after all these years!
We still haven't seen the eels since your trip, but we have discovered the white deer has a partner - there are actually two 'whiteys' in the bush - and the bellbirds seem to be increasing in number if the amount of singing is anything to go by!
Hope to see you next year...

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Reviewed 30 March 2013

Gorgeous weather, no sand-flies, a knowledgeable guide who cooks up a mean pancake, beautiful native and unspoiled forest with plenty of birdsong; what more could you want on a half-day tour? Well throw in a drive across farmland dotted with deer, sheep and a couple of emus, a forty-five minute to an hour walk and then suddenly coming across flames shooting out of the rock from a natural gas source, and you have a really amazing, and quite surreal experience. A real hidden gem! The track in places is a bit challenging (especially for short-legged people like me!) isn't wide, graveled or a board-walk, and let's hope it never is! Good boots or walking shoes are a must, and apparently sometimes you can get your feet wet. Due to the extreme dry conditions at the time of our 'Flames Experience', the water levels were practically non-existent. We loved it and highly recommend it. Well worth the cost and one of the best highlights of our South Island Odyssey!.

Thank Hottees
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mervetheswerve, Owner at The Natural Flames Experience - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2013

Thanks Hottees!
We've had a run of fantastic weather here in Murchison, so have not had to use the umbrellas at all this season!
Yes, sandflies really rare - maybe they don't like the smell of the gas? It means that you can have some real peace whilst soaking in the atmosphere.

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