Blog

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

84 and Still Skiing the Mountains with Methven Heliski

Britta and Christof Wieser started skiing with Methven Heliski 20 years ago. Christof has just celebrated his 84th birthday with the Methven Heliski crew and both heliski every fine day for the duration of their 6 week stay in NZ.

They are heliski connoisseurs, having skied just about everywhere there is to heliski, but every winter they are back to ski with the team in Methven.

Pictured here, they are out in the Arrowsmiths for perfect spring skiing.

Congratulations Britta and Christof and here’s to many more runs to come.

P.S. Thanks for a great day’s skiing!

Merinos Moved to Winter Grazing

This week our merino wethers were moved to their winter grazing. They will remain there for the next 4 months until the spring muster. Rotating the seasonal grazing is an important part of the station management. The sheep are ably watched by Head Shepherd, Cory Hollister as they head out through the last gate.

Lake Heron Station Rams

The rams are out – it’s the time of year when the rams get on with the business of starting the next generation of lambs. At Lake Heron, the merinos are bred for their beautiful soft wool, which is clipped off the sheep once a year in the spring. The wool is then supplied to Icebreaker – if you have any Icebreaker garments, check out the Baa code and you may just find the wool has come from here.

Wildlife at Lake Heron Station

One of the wonderful features of life in the high country is experiencing the seasonal comings and goings of birdlife. Black-fronted terns are endemic to New Zealand and it is estimated that their numbers total only about 5,000 in the whole of the country. In springtime these terns migrate inland to the braided riverbeds of the South Island and can be found in abundance in the Lake Stream and near Lake Heron. In summer they can be seen swooping and diving into the wind along the riverbanks in search of food. In this shot an adult bird has caught a skink – looks to be rather a large meal for a small bird.

Downs Hut Restoration Completed

After several weekends of hard labour keen outdoorsmen, Cory, Stu and Ben have completed the restoration of the Downs Hut. Gone are the sacking bunks and leaky roof – instead occupants can now enjoy some “rustic luxury.” The character of over a hundred years of use, still remains but the hut is now sturdy and weatherproof to face the next century.

Station huts are a unique feature in New Zealand’s pastoral history. Until recently many huts were left to fall into disrepair. However their appeal has had a resurgence – the charm of a simple corrugated iron haven in the middle of nowhere is a wonderful contrast to modern urban living.

Lake Heron Accommodation – the Downs Hut

Built over a hundred years ago, the Downs Hut has been a base for many forays into the high country. Musterers, shepherds, hunters, fishermen, and trampers have all left their inscriptions on the hut walls with the earliest names dating back to 1904.

However, time has taken its toll on the sacking bunks and beech framing and recently the hut has also become a haven for birds and possums. So…this summer the hut is getting something of a make-over. Mindful that it is a piece of history, the old iron cladding and beech framing are being retained and  beefed up -  hopefully the hut will last at least another 100 years.

Lake Heron’s Woolly Jumpers

Pet sheep are always a feature of high country life.

This trio (known as the Woolly Jumpers) were hand reared a year ago. They are now the cheekiest sheep on the place and will follow Alex anywhere for a piece of bread. They have even been known to sneak into the house looking for food. They will be shorn soon and, no doubt, will be joined by a handful of new orphans when lambing starts in a few weeks time.