Minaret Station - New Zealand's first luxury tented lodge
Minaret Station, family owned and operated since 1910, is so remote in the Southern Alps that access is only by helicopter.
A working station running some 10,000 sheep, 9000 deer and 600 cattle, Minaret is now open to lucky visitors who will enjoy adventures in utter luxury.
Minaret Station introduces a level of comfort and style never before available in the New Zealand mountains. Guests are hosted under canvas in luxuriously furnished tented suites, complete with wall-to-wall sheepskin carpet, king beds, a private deck with its own hot tub, full ensuite with double vanity and endless hot showers.
On-site facilities include the “mountain kitchen” with its well-stocked library, dining room, living area, open fires, first-class chef and private guides are also available. Guests will be able to go hiking the many trails, experience the high country lifestyle, spot wild game on the adjacent slopes, take a helicopter to explore the rugged Fiordland West Coast, access incredible fly-fishing rivers - or simply relax with a book on their private deck.
Reaching the camp, located at the head of a picturesque glacial valley in the heart of the alps, is an adventure in itself. From Wanaka, guests fly over the lake and slowly make their way up the valley to Minaret Station.
Guests are promised delicious meals, including premium New Zealand venison and lamb, cooked fresh by their personal chef, Leungo. There is also a cellar of New Zealand’s finest wines, including pinot noir, famous in the Central Otago region.
A huge range of outdoor adventures await, the station promising to tailor experiences to suit the season.
Depending on fitness and skill levels, the possibilities are almost endless. Guests can meander down to the waterfall or tackle advanced alpine climbing options such as rock climbing.
Fly-fishing the Central Otago Lakes District rivers east of the main divide is an exciting prospect even the most seasoned anglers return for year after year. This is sight fishing in its most true form as clear, snow-fed waters require careful stalking of each trout.
These alpine rivers hold high numbers of trout, predominantly rainbow. The fish in these rivers are known for their strength and fight, given their cold, fast-flowing alpine environment.
Relatively narrow and mostly shallow, set within wider glaciated valleys, the Central Otago Lakes District rivers offer a spectacular landscape to spend a day of wilderness fishing.
Lake Wanaka has a good population of rainbow and brown trout which feed along its shores and also deeper to the colder levels of the lake. Guests can fly by helicopter down the Estuary Burn River, over the main arm of the lake and land near Stevenson’s Island to meet their lake boat for a day of fishing, complete with a lakeside picnic lunch.
High Country Farm Tour
Minaret Station is a working high country farm being run in one of the most remote parts of the country. Guests can see first-hand how the farm operates, without any mains electricity, road access or amenities that can be found on “the other side of the lake.”
To be part of this tour, first there is a helicopter journey down through the Estuary Burn Valley, landing at the Minaret Station homestead. Next, guests embark on a four-wheel-drive vehicle tour of this unique high country station, experiencing the challenges of farming 26,000 stock units. They can help shepherds move mobs of sheep, using the working farm dogs, observe the extensive farming of deer on the hillside blocks and see sheep being shorn in the woolshed.
Heli jet boating
The Matukituki River Valley is one of the most spectacular in Mount Aspiring National Park and exploring this by jet boat is a great way to spend an afternoon. Jet boats can navigate 100mm of water depth and this boat trip makes its way up the braided river to end underneath the avalanche glacier with views right up to the icefalls. Owned and operated by a local family, this experience includes a bush walk through the native beech forest and informative descriptions on the historic uses of the valley and bush.
Personalised heli-skiing and heli-snowboard trips can be arranged in various places around Minaret Station.
Their expert local knowledge of Wanaka,the Southern Alps and Mount Aspiring National Park allow the station to offer helicopter skiing and heli-snowboard packages that guarantee fresh powder and stunning mountain scenery tailored to the technical ability and requirements of guests.
After an introduction to the techniques of downhill biking and a gear fitting session with a professional mountain biking guide at the lodge, guests take a helicopter to some of the most scenic parts of the Southern Lakes region to begin a mountain bike ride down the trails towards the lake edge below. Terrain can be tailored for beginner, intermediate or advanced riders.
At Minaret Station guests have access to the three main big game animals - red stag, tahr and chamois - as well as smaller game animals and birds. The station’s professional guides have intimate local knowledge of the area to allow guests safe access to remote wilderness areas for exclusive New Zealand hunting.