Our Story

Tom & Katie welcome you to their nationally-protected 2,000 hectare High Country station.

Stay overnight, have an adventure, enjoy breath-taking panoramic views, a rich gold mining history, hand restored trails, guided tours and comfortable accommodation.


Our family

Welcome Rock was created and is run by Tom O’Brien and his wife Katie, a fourth generation farming family who have owned Blackmore Station since 1911.

Tom has lived on the farm most of his life and farmed the land with his parents for many years before moving into Tourism and now local politics.

Tom’s wife Katie is originally from the UK, venturing over to New Zealand in the early 2000’s and finding her place on the farm alongside Tom.

Their family has now grown in size with the addition of three fabulous children, a couple of cats, lots of chickens and a healthy mix of working and pet dogs (collecting dogs seems to be a habit that Katie has developed)!

Together on Blackmore Station they have created Welcome Rock. An array of different skills to compliment each other, Tom and Katie work together in harmony to deliver what Welcome Rock and their home environment has to offer.

It is not a right, it is a privilege to share this part of New Zealand with you. We welcome you because the privilege is collectively ours.


Our vision

On behalf of my family, I’d like to share with you the vision behind Welcome Rock.

We have been fortunate enough to have lived on this land since 1911, when my great-great grandfather farmed Blackmore and started his legacy.

The journey continues to evolve into an entity that embraces land use and its people in a harmonious, rather than a destructive, way.

These basic principles are characterized by the Maori word ‘Kaitiaki’ or ‘Caretaker’ of the land.

Kaitiaki is a New Zealand Māori term used for the concept of guardianship, for the sky, the sea, and the land. A kaitiaki is a guardian, and the process and practices of protecting and looking after the environment are referred to as kaitiakitanga.

Welcome Rock is about spending time in a place that reflects how you might feel in this environment.

It’s about recognition and acknowledgement of the people and resource that values the essence of being a caretaker of the land.

Tom O’Brien

BEFORE YOUR TRIP: Download either the Great Rides or Great Hikes App to your phone, select Welcome Rock Trails and start your tour!

COVID POLICY: We are happy to move your booking or refund you if your booking is affected by Covid restrictions.

WINTER: Riding is not permitted during winter. Walking to the Mud/Slate Huts can be arranged directly with us during winter.

THE TRAIL: The Trail is open for hikers & bikers from 1 October until 30 April.

RED SHED: Open & Available all year round, located near the homestead!

MUD HUT & SLATE HUT: Access these huts along the trail. Slate Hut is 2kms from trail head, Mud Hut is 10kms from trail head.

Thank you for your interest and enjoy your journey!
Tom & Katie