They say living like a local is the only way to truly experience a place and it doesn’t get more New Zealand than this. Seven kilometres from the town of Wanaka and a thirty minute drive from the ski fields of Cardrona you will find this cosy cottage looking out to snow capped mountains with cows in the backyard and deer wandering in the front.
There are a number of different cottages to choose from but we opted for the Shearer's Quarters. A renovated original Shearer's cottage dating back to the 1850’s when Criffel Station was a working sheep farm. From that day until now, Criffel has been owned and run by the Bell family, which is the reason you feel right at home. Put it this way, when we arrived, the fire was crackling and there was a homemade bake in the oven and fresh ingredients from the garden to make a salad for dinner….oh and a bottle of NZ finest. Someone say wine?
A great thing to do with the whole family, especially if you need a breather from the slopes or the pow conditions aren't great, is a farm tour with Criffel. The Bell family love sharing their family home with people and their high country farm tours show the region in all it’s alpine glory.
The adventure starts right at your front door where you are picked up in a FWD to be taken around the property to get a real look at how station life works. The kids hand fed Alpacas, deer and sheep and learnt all about the 6,000 animals that live on Criffel, before we headed up into high country for afternoon tea. Here, you are completely off road as you climb Criffel Range, allowing you views over Lake Wanaka, Lake Hawea, the Wanaka basin and the Southern Alps from 1,300m above sea level.
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Photographed by Sam Elsom @sammywholesome on location at Criffel Station Farm.