Tenders close soon for Canterbury’s Mt White station

10:22 AM Wednesday February 3, 2016 Colin Taylor

An aerial view over Mt White Station’s homestead with Lake Letitia in the background.

Mt White Station, Canterbury’s largest high country station sprawling across 40,000 hectares in the upper Waimakariri Basin near Arthur’s Pass, is on the market for the first time 91 years.

“We are expecting significant interest from a diverse range of buyers,” says Shane O’Brien, national director Colliers Rural and Agribusiness, who is selling Mt White by international tender closing February 25.

“Mt White Station is renowned for its rugged and beautiful landscapes,” O’Brien says. “It is legendary among high country farming circles for its scale, isolation, awe-inspiring scenery and varied climate.”

The farm’s entrance is at the Mt White Bridge, the starting point of the river journey section of the Coast to Coast race.

It was originally settled in 1873 and has been one of Canterbury’s most successful operating stations.

David Clarkson Turnbull bought the leases of Mt White, Lochinvar, and Riversdale in 1924 and the farm has been in the Turnbull family ever since.

Great grandson Ben Turnbull says the station still has huge potential. “With no family members directly working on the farm, the family has now agreed it is time to pass on the baton and give someone else the opportunity to further develop the property and take it into a new era.”

True Commercial - Mt White station - Poulter Bridge.jpeg

Mt White Station has 31kms of river frontage. 

The extensive farmland includes improved pasture with irrigation, large areas of river flats as well as terraces, leading to steeper and more expansive hill country. A 31km river frontage is bounded by the Waimakariri River and bisected by the Hawdon, Poulter and Esk rivers.

Much of the 28km drive from the entrance at Mt White bridge to the homestead borders the Arthurs Pass National Park, with the pristine Lake Letitia being a centrepiece of the homestead block. It then takes several hours on farm tracks from the homestead to travel to the back of the station and the Dampier Range in the east, not far from Hawarden. The station’s boundaries are the Puketeraki Range in the southeast, the Arthur’s Pass National Park to the north and west; and the Esk Head saddle to the northeast.

“We think this property will have huge appeal for anyone looking for a large scale farming operation. There is still huge potential to drive farm production and performance, and further develop the extensive river flats and easy terraces by employing a range of agricultural options. Outside of its core farming operations, being only a 30 minute flight from Christchurch International airport, there’s great potential for tourist related and recreational activities,” O’Brien says.

Traditionally a large-scale merino sheep station, the property also has Hereford cattle and deer farming operations. Buildings comprise the homestead, a cottage, musterers’ quarters and farm buildings including an historic woolshed. Several additional station huts are ideal for bespoke hunting trips or back country adventures.

Another significant resource is the native manuka which provides scope for a valuable honey operation.

“This sale represents one of the last great opportunities to own an enviable slice of the New Zealand backcountry,” says O’Brien.