Kawarau River Station spans the entire northern slopes of The Remarkables. Kawarau River Station spans the entire northern slopes of The Remarkables. CREDIT: Dan Childs
Today Kawarau River Station is a profitable working farm running deer. Today Kawarau River Station is a profitable working farm running deer. CREDIT: Ray White Queenstown
Kawarau River Station boasts 14km of riverfront. Kawarau River Station boasts 14km of riverfront. CREDIT: Dan Childs
Kawarau River Station has enviable flat terraces, rolling hills and high country. Kawarau River Station has enviable flat terraces, rolling hills and high country. CREDIT: Dan Childs
The views from Kawarau River Station are stunning. The views from Kawarau River Station are stunning. CREDIT: Dan Childs
Kawarau River Station with indicative boundary. Kawarau River Station with indicative boundary. CREDIT: Dan Childs

Queenstown's iconic Kawarau River Station on the market for only second time in history

Tuesday 12 November 2013, 5:18PM
By Southern Public Relations


Kawarau River Station, one of Queenstown’s most significant freehold land blocks, has been put on the open market for only the second time in its history and is attracting a wide range of interest after just one week.

The iconic high country station, which is located at the foot of The Remarkables mountain range on the Kawarau River, is highly sought-after due to its position, natural attributes, 14km of riverfront land and its closeness to Queenstown.

For sale by enquiry with local realtor Bas Smith of Ray White Queenstown, the sale of Kawarau River Station, which spans 4500 acres, offers a rare opportunity to own an iconic, waterfront, freehold high country station.

“The West end of the property is located across the river from the Remarkables Park town centre and the farm encompasses the majority of the northern slopes of The Remarkables,” said Mr Smith.

“It’s entirely north facing ensuring year round solar advantage. This, accompanied by the huge water resource, makes for a very attractive proposition. It really is one of the last blocks of land of this nature available so close to Queenstown,” said Mr Smith

“Complemented by some of the most spectacular natural features to be found anywhere in the world, it is a rare find.

“This is a superb opportunity for someone to own an incredibly private, trophy property,” he said.

The right river bank of the Kawarau forms an important link between Gibbston Valley via the Chard Farm access road and central Queenstown with access off the State Highway 6 Kingston Highway.

Originally used in the Gold Rush days as the main access route to Queenstown the station has legal vehicle access from both ends and a well formed internal road, which allows the owner a drive of 15 minutes to Remarkables Park from the centre of the station.

“Despite legal access from both ends public access through the farm remains at the sole discretion of the land owner,” Smith says.

Kawarau River Station, historically known as Cone Peak Station, comprises an area of 1826 hectares of freehold property with an array of natural features along with two significant water sources - Rastus Burn and Owens Creek.

The Kawarau River forms the entire northern boundary of the property which over the centuries has formed lush rolling river flats and terraces which climb up into classic high country. All this crowned by Single Cone, the highest peak in the range and The Remarkables ski field.

Absolute riverfront properties are extremely rare and this property affords the owner an idyllic Kiwi rural lifestyle from swimming, fishing and jet boating in the river to farming, sustainable farming and hunting for wild game in the high country.

“Kawarau River Station is a profitable working farm with 1,826 hectares of fertile well fenced flats and river terraces grazing cattle and a red deer stud,” Smith said.

“It has the potential to return to farming 2000+ merino sheep once the current breathing period for the high country to regenerate is complete.”

The station has a three bedroom, farm manager’s house near the Gibbston Valley end of the property, a woolshed, deer and cattle yards and hay shed.

Consent for a second building platform is currently being re-issued by council, allowing the new owner the opportunity to build.

“These hills are awash with wild thyme and game is abundant including quail and deer along with trout and salmon in the river. There is also the potential to grow grapes or develop other horticultural activities.”

The station’s colourful history dates back to the early 1900s when it was subdivided from the larger Kawarau Station in 1910 (see full history below).

“There simply are no other properties like this in Queenstown now or in the future. All major land parcels near the boundary to Queenstown are already earmarked for development, making this a rare opportunity to own a slice of New Zealand paradise,” said Mr Smith.

“Private, trophy-like properties of this nature rarely come to market and we’re sure the new owner will enjoy their very own Kiwi haven, located on the edge of this international resort.

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​History of Kawarau River Station

The first owner, Wolsley Kain, also owned Glencoe Station and he installed Ernest Graham as manager who ran the two stations. Originally the only accommodation at Cone Peak was a one roomed hut - the remains of which are still there today.

In the early 1920s Watt James and John Watt purchased Cone Peak Station and a track was put in from the Chard Farm end of the property near Gibbston.

In the early 1930s they bought an additional 500 acres from Duncan Boyd and built a small house at the western end of the property.

They sold out in 1937 to George Wardell – of whom little is known- and the Wardells sold the farm to a Jack Kennedy in 1948. Kennedy’s two sons, Graham and Johnny, made a lot of money as boys skinning possums and rabbits and some of the huts on the site are believed to be the huts they occupied while hunting. 

Another historic hut on the property is the old manager’s hut positioned on the edge of the station at a triangular point where Kawarau River Station meets Remarkables and Glen Roy Stations, so the manager could service all three properties with ease.

Kennedy fenced, top dressed and over-sowed the land and ran about 6000 sheep on it – extending the woolshed. The farmhouse burnt down in 1970 and was rebuilt in 1984.
In 1995 the property was sold to the current owner.

It is believed that miners sluiced for gold on the property and there is still evidence of this today.

The historic Morven Ferry Hotel, the base for many a weary traveller, was also located on the property. The old Morven Ferry used to transport travellers and miners across the Kawarau River to the left bank side so people could continue their journey on to Queenstown