Just a few km from the hustle and bustle of the small rural township of Tapanui, is the Leithen Glen – a great swimming hole that is well-known by locals, but still undiscovered by many who are not.
It’s discoverable only by following the gravel road that winds next to the mighty Pomahaka River, and marked by only one yellow street sign in Kelso.
In summer, it’s not uncommon to see plumes of dust from the gravel road whisk up into the air as families drive their cars and 4WDs down to the Leithen Glen.
Armed with picnic and BBQ supplies, togs and towels, sunscreen and pool floaties these families are here to park up for the day and soak up the beautiful West Otago sunshine.
The Leithen is framed by beautiful forest that provides great shelter from any wind or breeze that may be around. The lavish, sweeping banks are kept tidy by the council and are the ideal spot to set up camp.
The Leithen swimming hole is safe to swim in, with just a small current. There is a popular jumping rock at the point where the rapids meet the pool which often hosts many children all lining up to take the plunge into the cool water.
If you’re into fishing, your best luck would be heading further up or down the river, away from the splashing. It is not uncommon for eels to emerge in the evening.
The name ‘Leithen’ has made a strong impact in the New Zealand hunting world with high numbers of red deer in the Leithen Bush Scenic Reserve. Leithen Bush has steep lower slopes and a series of ridges and spurs of moderate slope leading onto the broad open tops of the Umbrella Ranges. Mixed beech forest dominates the lower to mid slopes with diverse broad-leaved shrubs, ferns and tussock grasslands on the tops. Land area is approximately 2,333 ha.
You can apply for a hunting permit at the DOC website.
The Leithen Glen has been apart of many childhood memories for families over the years. Do you have any to share? Comment them below.