Where to go and what to see
Athol there are plenty of things to do. Athol is part of a growing hospitality business that is developing with the advent of “Around the Mountains” cycle trail and the promotion of the Southern Scenic Road Trip. There is a well known landscape gallery, colonial restored homes, a cafe and lodge / holiday park. The Eyre Creek and Quoich Creek, and flow into the Mataura River about 2 km to the south of the village. The Mataura River is a premier fishing destination.
- Go fishing for brown trout
- Photograph the picturesque 19th century remains of Nokomai railway siding with its rusting corrugated roof and a schist stone cottages with mature oaks standing as testament to the former occupants. There are fireplaces and chimneys standing in fields where sheep graze.
- The Athol Gallery represents both established and new artists who have a deep connection to the local landscape and rural life. The purpose built gallery space is warm and light and easily accessible from SH6. The Lodge Athol and Holiday Park Is a popular spot for cyclists to rest and for dedicated fishing enthusiasts enjoying the nearby Mataura River. The Brown Trout Cafe is a popular stopping point for motorists.
- Two bridges close to Athol have been nicknamed the “Golden Gates,” the bridges were built for cyclists and walkers on the Around the Mountains trail. Around the Mountain Cycle Trail suspension bridges: Fairlight, 67 metres long, Mataura “overflow”, 65m, Mataura, 3km north of Athol, 92m, Eyre Creek, 67m, Tank Creek, 45m
Mataura River in flood is known as swift and scours out deep holes in the river bed while in flood. Before the advent of bridges people had to ford the rivers. WESTERN STAR, ISSUE 1298, 27 OCTOBER 1888, SAD DROWNING ACCIDENT. FIVE LIVES LOST.
From the Southland News we gather particulars of a lamentable drowning accident that occurred at six o’clock on Thursday morning in the Mataura River at the ford between Mataura Island and the western bank. Andrew McFarlane, contractor, together with his wife and child, and his wife’s brother and sister and a boy, started in a cart drawn by two horses to cross the river at the ford, and when within a few yards of the opposite side one wheel- of the cart dropped into a hole, precipitating the occupants into the stream. All were drowned in the rushing waters except the boy, who managed to get hold of a box, and so kept afloat until he drifted ashore half-a-mile further down the river..
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE?
- Maori caves are scattered around the area, and its first accommodation house was established in early 1863 by runholder Joseph Rogers.
- 87 (2006)
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE?
- The debate goes on …
WHAT KEEPS THE PLACE TICKING?
- Farming is a mainstay for the district. In the 19th century there were small and largely unsuccessful attempts at gold mining centred on the nearby Nokomai River. There is a growth in tourism with Queenstown spillover, the cycle trail and Southern scenic road route promotion.
- Slow down, enjoy the road and check out an outstanding art gallery
Every town adds to the richness of things to do and see. For more details about the region check Invercargill & Southland Region nearby attractions and events.
Athol is situated on a plateau between Mid Dome (1478 m) and Flagstaff (1037 m) mountains.
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