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“A weird and beautiful morning”

The Natural Flames Experience - Day Tours
Ranked #3 of 7 things to do in Murchison
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
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 19 March 2014

This is an extraordinary and weird natural phenomenon - and you have it to yourself. Bumping along tracks in the landrover reminded me of heading off on safari and the valley is beautiful and through private land so no one else is around (except deer and emu).The drive and walk to the flames are fab, and our guide Merv, was really knowledgeable about bushes and trees ( and made all my subsequent bush walks in NZ much more interesting). The flames are bizarre, licking out of the ground in the middle of thick forest. Then you eat pancakes and tea (cooked on the flames of course) and go back feeling you've just witnessed something straight out of a kid's fairytale land. It's not the big drama of Pancake Rocks or scale of Fjordland, but it's one of my most memorable parts of my 6 week trip in NZ and something you're unlikely to experience anywhere else.

Thank jerrysheff
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 26 March 2014

Thanks Jerrysheff.
It's always good to be able to recognise what we are walking through. Sharing our (limited) knowledge is one of the joys of doing this trip for us. We are continuously learning; when we get asked something we don't know we try to find out for next time.
Glad you enjoyed the trip.

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57 - 61 of 82 reviews

Reviewed 14 March 2014

Although Murchison is not exactly a tourist spot, it does have a thigh that is definitely worth seeing: the Natural Flames Experience! I nearly couldn't go because tour times had been shifted due to a bad weather forecast, but when it turned out that there would be enough people for a tour in the morning, Merve even phoned my accommodation and asked if I still wanted to go. Thank you for taking the time to find me and giving me a call!

The Natural Flames Experienc is exactly what it says on the tin (meaning you get to see flames burning in the middle of native new Zealand bush), but it offers much more. Merve, the owner of the Murchison Lodge and the guide on this tour, and his very friendly and well-behaved dog Kali, picked me up with their Land Rover. After an interesting (and sometimes bumpy) ride through a deer farm with stops at interesting places, we walks through the bush for about an hour.
The walking track is not always easy, and you will need sturdy shoes. Walking sticks are provided, and on occasion come in quite handy along the way. Our group had a lady who struggled a bit with the more difficult parts, but our guide would always help her along, offer her a hand and suggest the best routes for her to take. I would judge that this track requires no exceptional level of fitness, but a bit of surefootedness would be of advantage.

During the ride and the walk, we would stop at interesting sites, and Merve would tell us abut the oil-drilling history, the history of the farm, natural phenomena caused by the oil found in this region, the effects of a huge earthquake in 1929. During the walk, he pointed out examples of native trees and plants and told us many informative and interesting things about them. The walk itself was already very pleasant, and the forest was very beautiful.

The main attraction, however, were of course the flames. There is a bit of dry ground that is literally on fire! The sight has to be seen to be believed. After admiring the flames and learning a bit more about the history behind them, Merve made us tea, coffee and delicious pancakes with local honey.

Altogether, I would say this was a beautiful walk and a stunning sight served with some very interesting bits of information and yummy pancakes. The trip was very enjoyable and definitely worthwhile!

1  Thank Julie A
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 16 March 2014

I am so pleased we managed to get you up there Julie especially as you got off the bus especially to do the trip. If we had known beforehand, we would not have moved things around as we did.
Thanks for being so patient with the others. The lady you mention was so pleased that we had managed to get here up there - even calling the flames the '8th Wonder of the World', which was very gratifying.
It's not a problem going a bit slower than normal - as there is always plenty to see! By the way - we have seen the black Fantail up there again which is very special.
Thanks for your great review. Again, I am so pleased it all worked out in the end!

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Reviewed 8 March 2014

This trip is run by Merve , owner of The Murchison Lodge. Kali the dog comes along as well and could probably guide you to the flames as well. There is a drive from Murchison which goes through farmland and then there is the walk through native bush which is a lovely walk and Merve provides lots of useful information on the local flora and fauna.Then you reach the flames burning in the middle of the bush and some maybe sceptical but once there it is obvious this is a natural phenomenon. It has to be seen to be believed and once there you have pancakes cooked over the flames and coffee.

A wonderful trip that should not be missed when in Murcison.

Thank David716
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Merve B, Owner at The Natural Flames Experience - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 12 March 2014

Thanks David.
Actually, Kali is the main guide - I just tag along as she hasn't quite got the hang of pancake making yet! (She tends to eat them, if she can get to them before the tame NZ robin - which has switched on to the fact that there is food to be had when we arrive!!)
Every day there is something different to see in the bush - we saw a black fantail yesterday which we have not seen up there before. It really is a special place to be able to go…

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Reviewed 5 March 2014

Wonderful experience to see flames burning in the middle of dense native bush. Excellent information from our well informed guide Merve. A pleasant walk in through beautiful beech forest. A truly worthwhile sight in friendly Murchison.

Thank Karen W
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Merve B, Owner at The Natural Flames Experience - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 12 March 2014

Glad you found the area friendly Karen - its a great little town.
The flames are moving around a lot at the moment so are in a different position even from two weeks ago; they are even more spectacular as they are going up the bank!!
Thanks for the review...

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Reviewed 8 February 2014 via mobile

We stopped by Murchison on the way through and have so far stayed 3days. A sleepy hick town on the outside but with loads to do if you are into outdoors stuff.
Today we went on the flames experience. We were pretty sceptical to start with but have just had the most fantastic morning. A small group lead knowingly by Merve a very personable and friendly character . The whole journey both on foot and in 4x4 is interspersed with local history, the story of the flames, and a ecological information. The walk itself is very pleasant and easily accessible to most.
Then the flames themselves which really are utterly bizarre. A small clearing in the middle of the bush with the ground literally on fire. Merve adds yet more information whilst cooking up fresh pancakes with honey from the farm down the road and brews some tea over the flames. Then a gentle stroll back to the truck where we were dropped to our campsite.
Well worth the money and thoroughly enjoyable
John & Gen

Thank jungaljohn
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 18 February 2014

So glad you enjoyed Murchison. Yes, if you are into shopping malls and fast food chains, don't stay here!
If you like big ice creams, friendly people and discovering the secret places of NZ, then this is your town…
We feel privileged to be able to show people the 'Flames'. It is so weird seeing flames continually burning within inches of the forest floor. Every time I go in with people I am eager to see where they may have moved to.
Bizarre is correct!
Thanks John & Gen.

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