Massive high country station heads to the market for first time in 40 years

A major high country cattle and sheep station in the lower South Island is going on the open market for the first time in nearly four decades.

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There are concerns over who might buy the 18,000-hectare Halfway Bay station. Source: 1 NEWS

The secluded 18,000-hectare station at Halfway Bay is nestled among mountains beside Lake Wakatipu, about halfway between Kingston and Queenstown.

It is only accessible by boat or helicopter.

"It's got every recreational attribute that you can imagine... You have four major valley systems, with a world-class fly-fishing river on it," says Russell Reddell from Sotheby's International Realty in Queenstown.

It's one of the largest property sales in Queenstown in 25 years.

The station can usually only be seen from a lookout directly across Lake Wakatipu; now property hunters can take a closer look.

It has been 40 years since the station was last put on the market for anyone to buy and could go for more than $50 million.

Reddell says there could be scope to build visitor accommodation or other developments.

"Every high country farmer is always looking for a diverse or different income stream and I think tourism has been a big part of that," he says.

"It's got 180 hectares of freehold land in the middle of the property and it certainly lends itself to being some sort of resort, some high-end glamping or education centre."

But there is some apprehension about what possible development could mean.

"It's really important that the Crown Pastoral Land Act has a priority to protect the landscapes and the intrinsic values of these places, especially when they change hands," says Nicky Snoyink from Forest and Bird.

Federated Farmers also told 1 NEWS it would be concerned if the buyer replaced productive grazing land with wholesale planting of trees. 

So, who would likely buy it?

"I think everyone would love to see all these properties held in New Zealand hands," Reddell says.

He says it is also likely a syndicate would come together and put forward an offer.

The property is also being promoted to potential overseas buyers, but will need to go through the Overseas Investment Office process.