01 Feb Minaret Station – Where Wilderness Meets Luxury
Nestled in a still valley… surrounded by mountains… high above sea level in New Zealand’s epic Southern Alps… is a luxury lodge so remote that it is accessible only by helicopter.
A working high country farm, (to be precise, a 20,000 hectare deer, sheep and cattle farm) Minaret Station is one of the world’s finest alpine accommodations.
New Zealand aviation pioneer Sir Tim Wallis bought the property back in 1995, shaping the stunning but unforgiving land into a successful farm, with the help of his four sons. Two of the boys still manage the farm, while the other two look after the newest addition to this lakeside valley, Minaret Station luxury lodge.
Visiting and being hosted at Minaret Station is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. We’re not at all surprised that international luxury travel magazine Town & Country named it as one of The 100 Hotels That Will Change Your Life.
Arriving by helicopter (the only way in – there are no roads) allows you to truly understand the scope of this wilderness. It’s jaw-dropping stuff. To get here, you’ll fly through and over dramatic mountain ranges and thrusting ridges, over vivid blue lakes, stunning remote waterfalls and awe-inspiring ancient glaciers.
As you touch down at your accommodation, on the edge of Lake Wanaka, remember that the main lodge and her four stunning chalets – and everything inside the chalets that you’re about to enjoy – had to be choppered in, just like you are!
You can go days here without seeing a single other tourist – it feels like you have paradise on earth, all to yourself.
Here in the Southern Alps, the skiing, hunting and fishing are the stuff of legend. The Wallis sons, like their father, are expert chopper pilots, and their large and modern fleet of choppers can fly you to simply incredible (and otherwise unreachable) skiing, fishing and hunting locations in this wilderness.
Minaret Station prides itself on offering New Zealand’s premiere private heli-skiing experiences. Enjoy runs on absolutely pristine, untouched powder with hundreds of square kilometres as your playground.
And while experts will be buzzing on the steep and deep chutes, newbies to skiing will also have a ball here – Minaret Station has exceptional, highly experienced instructors and there is terrain to suit everyone – including wide open bowls for beginners.
World-Class Hunting & Fly-Fishing
New Zealand consistently produces some of the finest hunting and fishing experiences in the world – and Minaret Station is the crème de la crème. Hunt in diverse unspoilt landscapes and amongst rugged mountain terrain. There are thriving populations of wild alpine and lowland game animals roaming here in the Southern Alps. Red Stag, Elk Bull, Bull Tahr and Chamois and Fallow Buck are among the most sought-after of the big game.
As well as privately owning a 50,000 acre parcel of wilderness giving you exclusive access to phenomenal back-country fishing rivers, Minaret Station also holds independent concessions that allow you to cast your lure on very special conservation waters.
The rivers here are rich with nutrients, raising strong, powerful fish (rainbow and brown trout, along with Chinook salmon for a short season) that offer a real challenge to hook! The glacial water is gin-clear here, so the spot and stalk method is the most exciting, using dry fly, streamer and nymph techniques often on the same stretch of water.
From a gentle walk to a stunning waterfall, to a hill climb where your reward is a artisanal picnic with a view, to a challenging all-day hike through the mountains, there are a huge array of on-foot adventures to be had here.
The Four Chalets
After an amazing day out exploring paradise, bunk down in your chalet – one of just four here at Minaret. Each features sheepskin carpets, premiere quality king-size bed, ensuite, separate dressing room, and a private, in-deck hot tub where you can soak underneath the Southern stars. Magic.
Your hosts, like us, believe that luxury is in the little details – so expect lovely touches like a complimentary gourmet mini bar and complimentary skincare by NZ botanical brand Evolu (along with artisanal Manuka Honey soap, handmade just for Minaret Station).
The Minaret Station experience includes all meals – though ‘meals’ seems far too ordinary a word to describe the dining here. Graze in the lodge dining room or living rooms, alfresco on the deck or in the privacy of your own chalet. You’ll not only enjoy truly farm-to-table fare from Minaret’s own land, but the best of local, seasonal produce (and this region grows some of the world’s finest!)
Imagine a breakfast of juicy summer nectarines and strawberries, handmade bircher drizzled with manuka honey, and organic farm-fresh eggs… At lunch time, how about a gourmet picnic with fresh salmon, and bread that’s still warm from the lodge’s oven that morning? Or venison from Minaret’s own farm gate, cooked by a chef in one of the station’s mustering huts as you pause the day’s hunting or fishing action for a bite? Imagine sitting in the evening sun in high summer, as fresh lobster cooks on the huge outdoor BBQ, the mountains as your backdrop… Or in winter, as snow falls outside, imagine yourself in front of one of the lodge’s roaring open fires, warming yourself doubly with a glass of international award-winning red, paired with local figs and premium cheeses.
Let our team arrange a stay for you at the very special Minaret Station, enjoying a standard of comfort and style never before available in New Zealand’s wilderness, all framed by the rugged beauty of a secluded mountain landscape.
All imagery from Minaret Station