Mt Murchison – Site Guide

New Zealand – South Island

Site Information

Mt Murchison is a high mountain site located in the Tasman region of New Zealand. It offers 360 degrees of take off options and spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. It is one of the main sites for the New Zealand Hang Gliding National Open Championship, an annual event to determine the New Zealand Champion.

The site is suitable for intermediate to advanced pilots who can handle strong thermals and cross-country flying. The site is also known for its potential for long distance flights, with several records set from here.

The site is accessed by a 4WD track that leads to the summit of Mt Murchison, which is about 1800 meters above sea level. The track is usually open from December to April, depending on the weather and the landowner’s permission.

There are several launch options on the summit, depending on the wind direction and strength.

There are several landing options at the foot of the mountain, depending on the wind direction and strength.

Flying conditions and Restrictions

Mt Murchison is a thermic site that can produce strong and consistent lift throughout the day. The best flying conditions are usually from late morning to early afternoon, when the valley breeze is moderate and the thermals are well organized. The site can also work well in the late afternoon or evening, when the valley breeze drops and the thermals become smoother.

The site can be flown in almost any wind direction, as long as it is not too strong or gusty. The ideal wind speed is between 5 and 15 km/h, depending on the direction and the launch chosen. The site can also be flown in light or nil wind conditions, but it requires good launch skills and timing.

The site is subject to some restrictions due to the presence of controlled airspace and other air traffic. The main restrictions are:

Best times to fly and visit

Mt Murchison is a year-round flying site, but the best times to fly and visit are from December to April, when the weather is more stable and the track is open. This is also the time when the New Zealand Hang Gliding National Open Championship is held, which attracts pilots from all over the country and abroad.

The site offers excellent flying conditions for cross-country flights, with potential distances of over 200 km in any direction. The site has seen several record flights, such as:

The site is also a great place to visit for its scenic beauty and outdoor activities. Murchison town is a small but friendly town that offers accommodation, cafes, shops, and a museum. The town is also known as the “whitewater capital” of New Zealand, as it has several rivers that offer rafting, kayaking, and fishing opportunities.

More Information

For more information about Mt Murchison and hang gliding in New Zealand, you can visit the following links or contact the following people:

  • NZHGPA: The New Zealand Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association is the governing body for hang gliding and paragliding in New Zealand. It provides information about flying sites, rules, regulations, safety, events, and membership. You can visit their website at or contact them at +64 4 801 6924 or [email protected].
  • Airtribune: Airtribune is a platform for online registration, live tracking, and blogging of hang gliding competitions and events. You can visit their website at or contact them at [email protected].
  • Event Organiser: The event organiser for the New Zealand Hang Gliding National Open Championship is Tom Mulder, a local pilot and instructor. You can contact him at +64 21 1481831 or [email protected].
  • Murchison Visitor Centre: The Murchison Visitor Centre is a local tourism information centre that provides information about accommodation, activities, attractions, and services in Murchison and the surrounding area. You can visit their website at or contact them at +64 3 523 9392 or [email protected].

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