To tell the story of Criffel is to tell the story of and the uncharted lands of the S . Originally formed as a , a quality which remained unchanged for over 130 years. Today Criffel Station combines sustainable with tourism ventures, accommodation, property development and is home to one of Wanaka’s most desirable event venues, The Woolshed.
Purchased in 1960 by Henry Campbell, what we now know as Criffel Wanaka, out to the Kawarau . The initial intention was to use the for mustering and to enjoy the in relative solitude while other parts of were teeming with people in search of their fortune in gold. was but a small section of the newly formed spanning all area west of the Upper Clutha, to the foot of
However only 20 years later, two prospectors found gold on the eastern summit slopes of the Criffel range and for the following two decades, the great Central gold rush reached deep into Criffel’s 1350m high ranges changing the landscape forever. It is estimated that 1,200 ounces of gold were produced until 1900 when the started to exhibit signs of drying up. That in combination with the extensive rabbit problems in the area lead to government intervention in the early 1900s, the method – acquisition and division of the into smaller blocks of , to be balloted to the World War 1 Veterans.
In 1910 the was purchased by Dr. George Morris of Cromwell for his son serving in World War 1. In an instance of sheer luck of the draw, upon his returning George Jr. drew neighbouring McKay in the ballot. It was this combined which Hector Bell purchased in 1980 and operated as a until its sale to his son Jerry and his family in 1993 when its operations changed to .
Today the runs several thousand Eastern European hinds and produces venison and velvet. The property runs as four operations – hill breeding, venison finishing, velveting and a stud operation. The stud operation utilises breeding values with a primary focus on venison growth to 12 months. DNA technology is used to produce top quality breeding hinds and stags. The genetics are passed directly to the commercial operation and other commercial buyers.
It was in the early 2000s that Criffel Station began to venture into tourism and events. Initially, it was at Criffel Central were hosted as part of international delegations. This provided the background to extend the Criffel hospitality and a few years later Criffel Stay, Discovery and Crossfire were added, further expanding the Criffel stable of brands and offerings. Woolshed with locals choosing to get married here. Increasingly people looking for a rural experience in stunning