What to Do in Maruia & the Lewis Pass
This is what the South Island is all about: vast untouched wilderness, multi-day tramping, mountains, rivers and lakes… It can all be experienced surrounding the village of Maruia. Located along State Highway 65, wedged between the east coast and the west coast of the South Island, Maruia is an isolated mountain village well worth stopping by on a South Island road trip. It is the gateway to the wild West Coast region of New Zealand, yet has its own set of attractions, from hikes to hot pools. Find out what to do there with this list of things to do in Maruia.
While you’re here, you might also like the 15 Awesome Things to Do in Reefton and 10 West Coast Must-Dos.
1. Walk to Lake Daniell
Soak up the Lewis Pass scenery on this incredible day hike ending at Lake Daniell. The well-formed trail leads through ancient beech forest where it’s common to encounter birdlife like tomtit, South Island robin, rifleman and more. The 3-hour one-way walk ends at Lake Daniell where there is a Department of Conservation hut to stay in overnight if you wish. Return on the track the same way.
Location: Start at the Marble Hill Campsite, off State Highway 7, 23km south of Maruia/6.5km east of Springs Junction.
2. Enjoy a Scenic Drive
Maruia is ideally located along one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand which connects with famous drives along the Lewis Pass and Buller Gorge to form a circuit. From Reefton, drive through to the Buller Gorge and the dramatic landscape of the Buller River as you drive toward Murchison. Before reaching Murchison, turn down State Highway 65, through Maruia to Springs Junction. Complete the loop by turning right through the Rahu Saddle back to Reefton.
Location: Roads include SH69, SH6, SH65 and SH7.
3. Check Out Maruia Falls
On your way to or from Maruia, along State Highway 65, don’t miss this stunning natural attraction just off the side of the road. From the car park, a 5-minute walk leads down to the Maruia River bank to reveal an excellent viewpoint of a wide waterfall. Maruia Falls was created following a famous earthquake that occurred in the area in 1929.
Location: State Highway 65, 42km north of Maruia.
4. Walk the St James Walkway
If you want to spend more time in the stunning Lewis Pass landscape, which we don’t blame for, then experience the multi-day St James Walkway. This 5-day hike is suitable for all levels of fitness, with the Department of Conservation huts to use as accommodation along the way. The walk features vast pastoral land, beech forest and stunning sub-alpine landscapes.
Location: Start from the Boyle River Outdoor Education Centre, 55km south of Maruia.
5. Take a Break at the Marble Hill Picnic Area
Have a picnic or camp for the night at the Marble Hill Campsite and picnic area. This stunning little tussock area on the Lewis Pass is where the Maruia River and the Alfred River meet with wide river flats and several short walks to discover, including the Lake Daniell walk (see above).
Location: Off State Highway 7, 23km south of Maruia/6.5km east of Springs Junction.
6. Indulge at the Thermal Pools
Maruia Hot Springs is the Lewis Pass & Maruia’s hottest little attraction. Ease your muscles from your New Zealand road trip in the soothing mineral waters naturally sourced from a hot spring across the Maruia River. The thermal pools are inspired by Japanese spas, with outdoor and indoor hot pools to choose from. We recommend staying outdoors to soak up the stunning mountain scenery. Find more fantastic thermal pools with our 10 Damn Relaxing Hot Pools in New Zealand.
Location: State Highway 7, 33km south of Maruia/15km east of Springs Junction
More About Maruia
That’s it for the best things to do in Maruia. Find more activities for your travels in the 51 Best Things to Do in the South Island.