The Blue Mountains of Tapanui are a recreational wonderland for hunters and trampers alike, while the Pomahaka River provides unequalled trout and salmon fishing.
The picturesque town of Tapanui lies in the west of Clutha Country, close to the boundary with the Southland region between the foot of the Blue Mountains and the Pomahaka River.
As a forestry town, deer stalking and trout fishing are popular pastimes in the area. For almost a hundred years, the town was serviced by the Tapanui Branch railway line, which stopped 1km outside of the town before carrying on to Kelso and then Heriot. This line was formally opened in late 1880 and closed after being damaged by severe flooding in the region in October 1978.
In New Zealand the name Tapanui is closely associated with the mysterious ailment chronic fatigue syndrome, which - until it became an accepted ailment, was known simply as the "Tapanui 'flu"; so named because it was Dr Peter Snow, Tapanui's long serving general practitioner who first documented the rise of the condition in New Zealand.
In addition to the natural beauty of the area there is also a Heritage Trail which runs alongside the Pomahaka River.
Heriot / Kelso
Heriot and Kelso are small townships north of Tapanui.
Heriot is home to Todd Cottage, and the start of the Todd Foundation which is one of New Zealand’s first family philanthropic Trusts. Kelso contains an interesting 1865-1980 monument marking the record heights of floods in the town. The 1978 flood, know as the ‘100 year flood’ (which terminally damaged the railway line), was only to be followed by another in 1980. This later flood was much worse than that of 1978 and saw the demise of the township.
For more information on West Otago go to www.tapanuiwestotago.net