Lake Heron Station

Canterbury and the West Coast, New Zealand

At a Glance

  • An authentic working farm where you can experience real New Zealand high country life first-hand

  • The station spans a vast 20,000 hectares of breathtaking landscapes including mountains, a glacial valley and Lake Heron

  • An outdoors adventurer’s dream, with endless hiking possibilities, fly-fishing, kayaking and heli-skiing

  • Ideal for families of up to six, or two couples travelling together

  • A true off-the-beaten track experience in a truly beautiful corner of the Southern Alps

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Best time to Visit

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The climate in New Zealand is incredibly pleasant, with warm and balmy summers and cold crisp winter months with wonderful clear, blue skies. The warmer high-season months of November to April are perfect for outdoor exploration. The colder months of June to August are the best time to ski.

Both North and South Islands are drier on the east coast, rather than on the west, where mountain ranges act as a trap for the moisture-rich winds from the Tasman Sea. It is also worth remembering that it is usually a few degrees cooler on the South Island than the North Island and as New Zealand has a maritime climate, the weather can change rapidly.

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Insider's View

You’ll definitely want a 4WD vehicle for your stay here to allow you to explore the farm independently and get out hiking to the most rewarding spots.

Take the rowing boat across the lake and hike to the top of Sugarloaf mountain for spectacular views along the valley and of the surrounding mountains.

Call us on to start planning your holiday to Lake Heron Station or take a look at our itineraries to New Zealand


Lake Heron Station is a high country working farm located in a remote spot in the Southern Alps of New Zealand’s South Island. Stay in the cosy farm cottage and get a true sense of Kiwi farm life, exploring the 20,000 hectares by 4x4, hiking and kayaking.

An authentic working sheep and cattle farm in a glacial valley of the Southern Alps, Lake Heron Station offers a true slice of rural Kiwi life. The 20,000 hectare station is owned by Philip and Anne Todhunter, whose family have owned the property for more than 100 years, and is home to ten thousand merino sheep and 700 angus cattle. The setting is truly breathtaking, in a glacial valley with steep sided, often snow-capped mountains everywhere you look, and the vibrant blue of Lake Heron nearby.

Accommodating just one family or group at a time, you have this vast, remote wilderness to yourselves to explore. In the summer months, take your car and drive along trails to take in the views, setting off on foot to hike for anywhere between an hour and a whole day, perhaps stopping at one of the original station huts for a picnic lunch. Fly-fishing for trout here is superb, either independently or with an expert guide. There’s a rowing boat and two sit-on kayaks for paddling on the lake, too. Wild swimming is encouraged, with plenty of spots to cool off in the river or lake. And of course you can get involved in seeing how the farm operates, from learning about the sheepdogs and how they round up the herds, to witnessing the sheep shearing , all dependent on the season of course. In the winter, the area is transformed by snow cover, and the main activity is heli-skiing on the farm’s mountains, with a specialist guide, and Philip as your helicopter captain.

The farm cottage is yours in its entirety, and has a spacious kitchen and lounge area at its heart. There are two queen bedrooms, cosy cottage in style, and a bunk room with two bunk beds, popular with youngsters. There is a shower room and separate toilet, and an outdoor bathtub where you can enjoy a bit of stargazing of an evening. Outside is a barbecue and a picnic table where you can relax and enjoy your meals outdoors when the weather’s warm.

Anne provides a two-course set menu dinner each evening, and provisions for a full cooked breakfast are delivered each morning for you to rustle up at your leisure. Whilst the accommodation itself is simple and no-frills, this is very much part of its charm. The whole emphasis here is on exploration, enjoying the great outdoors and experiencing life on a traditional high country farm.

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The station is ideal for active, outdoorsy, independent travellers. Activities in the summer include fly-fishing, hiking, rowing on the lake, kayaking, swimming, and in the winter the focus is on heli-skiing with a guide. There are guided and unguided options for the hiking and fishing, and your stay is really flexible, but remember you’re staying on a working farm, rather than at a hotel or lodge where you’ll be hand-held more. The flexibility and independence is part of the beauty of your stay here though, and guests love it so much they often return for repeat visits!


  • Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise (Shared)

    The dramatic expanse of Doubtful Sound is best explored by boat, traversing the fiord and surrounded on all side by the steep peaks, native bush and crashing waterfalls.

  • Jet Boating & Walking in Matukituki Valley (Shared)

    Deep in the Matukituki Valley, this exciting half day jet boating adventure will take you beneath the breath-taking scenery of mountains and glaciers, Lord of the Rings and Hobbit locations, into the World Heritage Mount Aspiring National Park.

  • Private Helicopter Charter Fiordland Traverse

    The remote and dramatically beautiful landscape of the West Coast, Fiordland and World Heritage Park are best discovered by helicopter, high above the rugged peaks, expansive waterways and pristine wildernesses of the region.

Holiday Ideas

  • Active South Island

    Christchurch, Arthur's Pass, Lake Heron, Wanaka, Fiordland

    from £7500 pp inc flights & transfers for 14 nights

    • Ideal trip for active types, with hiking, kayaking and outdoors activities aplenty
    • Get off the beaten track to hidden gems like Lake Heron Station, a high country working sheep farm
    • Road trip around South Island, driving a 4x4

Location & directions

Canterbury and the West Coast, New Zealand

Lake Heron Station is located at the end of a gravel road, right in the heart of the Southern Alps.

How to get there

It is approximately a two and a half hour drive from Christchurch Airport, three hours’ drive from Lake Tekapo, and three and a half hours’ drive from Arthur’s Pass.


Speak to our specialists 020 3993 8860

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Call us on to start planning your holiday to Lake Heron Station or take a look at our itineraries to New Zealand

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