Blog

Read our latest high country news and find out about life on a Canterbury high country station.

Weather at Lake Heron Station

With what looks set to be a week long storm pounding the high country, any brief clearance sees everyone racing outdoors to burn off some energy. 

Meanwhile on the farm, the focus is on feeding out plenty of silage to ensure the stock are well fed in the cold conditions.

Maya Takes On Pro-Shear at Lake Heron Station

Last week we had a great time with Team Icebreaker at Lake Heron. There were many highlights, including a moonlit soccer game, salmon spotting and overnighting at the “New Hut” – not to mention plenty of socialising. However, the most memorable event was when Maya Gaebler, Icebreaker Marketing Co-ordinator, took on the Pro-Shear gang in the woolshed. The boys in the gang certainly felt they had met their “match.” Great stuff Maya! Advising Maya is Grant Smith, who holds the world record for shearing the most merino wethers in 8 hours – 418! Achieved in 1999, this record is still standing 12 years on.

Autumn at Lake Heron Station

With temperatures dropping and a touch of snow on the mountains, the winter heliski season is just around the corner.

It is also the time of the annual salmon run. From the ocean to tiny Mellish Stream in the south east corner of Lake Heron, this annual event is one of life’s extraordinary cycles.  Adult salmon that  started life in this  trickling high country stream,  navigate a long  journey back to this spot to spawn and die. In their persistence to complete this cycle, they leave the ocean to travel up the Rakaia River, into the Lake Stream and then across Lake Heron to Harrison’s Bight and finally Mellish Stream. Witnessing their last battle weary hours is a poignant sight.

Conservation Work At Lake Heron Station

“Caught in a trap” These 2 little beasts have come to a sticky end as part of conservation work at Lake Heron. On the left is a stoat and on the right a ferret. Both were introduced to New Zealand as the answer to the burgeoing rabbit plague. However, our indigenous birds were much easier prey, and ferrets and stoats rapidly spread through the countryside decimating native birdlife. Efforts by the Lake Heron Conservation Group (of which Philip is one of the keen volunteers) and the Department of Conservation are aimed at wiping out these predators so that the local birdlife has a long term chance of surviving. Threathened birds in the area include the Australasian crested grebe, bittern, black fronted tern and wrybill.

Free-range tahr hunting on Lake Heron Station

We have just had the first of our overseas hunters through for the tahr hunting season. The South Island of New Zealand is one of the few places in the world where Himalayan Tahr can be hunted in the wild. Since they were first introduced in the South Island, tahr readily adjusted to the high country and in a short time became recognised as a threat to native plant species. Here at Lake Heron we have adopted a policy of culling animals to prevent over-population and of providing access to keen local and overseas hunters. And keen the hunters have must be, to negotiate the high rocky ranges that the tahr frequent! This is true Kiwi hunting at its best – no fences or helicopters to give the hunters an unfair advantage. Skill, fitness and perseverance are needed to bring home a trophy.

High Country News from Lake Heron Station

A beautiful day at Lake Heron with an autumn freshness in the air. We have just been putting the finishing touches to the “New Hut” – a backcountry station hut built in 1923! In 1923 it was the newest of Lake Heron’s 5 station huts and once again it can proudly live up to the fond “New Hut” name. With a newly installed modern kitchen, log fire and cosy bunks, it provides a lot more comfort than it would have in 1923. 10 kms from the main homestead area, the hut was built as one of a number of station outposts for mustering sheep and cattle. Once the trip to the hut would have taken several hours on horseback, however now,  it is only a short mountain bike or 4WD trip away. Despite this, it still retains a wonderful sense of being a remote haven in a large and rugged landscape.

PS… These girls are your only neighbours!

A day on the river at Lake Heron Station

Bernie Alpers and long-time fishing guide, Nigel Birt, recently had a  couple of days here on the station. This is Bernie’s second stay at Lake Heron and we hope you got what you came for this time Bernie!