The other side of Lake Wakatipu: Mt Nicholas Station
Mt Nicholas High Country Farm near Queenstown is the perfect place to go for an authentic Kiwi experience. This family-run, working merino wool farm (also known as a station in New Zealand) offers visitors the chance to see what wool farming is all about while exploring one of the most scenic farms in the country. Mt Nicholas Station is one of the biggest farms in New Zealand, is home to approximately 30,000 merino sheep and 2,200 Hereford cattle and for most visitors, is only accessible by boat. The farm stretches over 100,000 acres (40,500 ha) and sits in one of the most beautiful locations on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu. Mt Nicholas Station is almost completely self-sustaining with onsite hydro-electricity production and a thriving supply of home-grown food.
The history of Mt Nicholas High Country Farm
Mt Nicholas Station was originally settled back in the 1860s. Things weren’t easy back then and these hardy pioneers endured remoteness, a challenging climate and a sometimes disheartening environment to farm on. Heavy snowfalls, limited resources, and newly introduced species like rabbits made running the farm successfully a challenge. The nearest town was a two-day horse ride away.
Through all of the challenges, Mt Nicholas Farm prevailed, and in 1976 the Butson family took over. Today, the Butsons still own and operate Mt Nicholas Station. Original owners Robert and Linda Butson have retired to Te Anau, and their daughter Kate and her husband Jack, have taken over the management. This special slice of New Zealand history has and always will be, a family farm. Discover more about one of New Zealand’s oldest farms, Mt Nicholas Station.
The story of Merino wool New Zealand
Merino wool is an extremely fine and soft type of wool which doesn’t itch and can be worn close to the skin. It is biodegradable, warm, fire-retardant, wicks away moisture, and doesn’t smell if you sweat while wearing it. These qualities make merino wool highly sought after around the world where it used for many types of clothing. The wool produced at Mt Nicholas is sent out to different companies on contract. Approximately one-third of the wool produced by Mt Nicholas is sent to Icebreaker, an iconic New Zealand outerwear brand.