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The Mt Lyford Story  
Mount Lyford Alpine Resort is a freehold mountain property in the South Island of New Zealand. Situated approximately 1 hour 30 minutes by road north of the main city Christchurch and International Airport. The area is ideally located at the southern end of the seaward Kaikoura mountain range, between the thermal resort town of Hanmer Springs and the Eco-tourism town of Kaikoura only 50minutes drive to either destination.


1st day skiing at Lake Stella Ski Area
Lake Stella
Artist impression of the Mt Lyford area
Up until 1986 Mt Lyford was a high country station situated north of Waiau in North Canterbury on the Inland Kaikoura road, State Highway 70. It was owned by D & J Simpson who found that farming was becoming difficult due to the high snow risk during the winter, so they decided to look at opportunities for development of the area. In 1986 the Simpson’s initiated a change to the district Scheme of the Amuri County Council (now the Hurunui District Council) to enable part of their land to be re-zoned for residential and recreational use. With a successful application there was now the opportunity for the Simpson’s to turn the liability of their farm and over towering mountains into a potential asset. At this stage the Simpson’s were unable to start the development alone. This was where joint venture partners Wilkins & Davies Limited (W&D) stepped in creating the start to the development of Mt Lyford Resort (now Mt Lyford Alpine Resort). W&D as the joint venture partner brought financial backing and development experience to the project. W&D at the time were one of the largest and most diversified construction companies in New Zealand. In the early stages of the Mt Lyford Resort development W&D had expertise in property development and management, building design and construction, civil engineering and earthworks of the project.

The proposal of the Mt Lyford development as a joint venture project was to construct and market an alpine subdivision of 97 large sections with an approximate size of one acre each. The alpine village included; roading, water supply, underground power and telephone services. Recreational areas and artificial lakes were also planned and strict building codes were placed on the type of buildings and construction methods use within the subdivision. Only log chalets were allowed to be built with a minimum roof pitch of 45 degrees. In addition to the subdivision a commercial ski field and access road was developed in the overlooking mountains catering for families, including ice-skating, day shelter/cafeteria together with ski tows and car parking. In turn the Mt Lyford ski field was there to compliment the subdivision below.



Cat skiing at Lake Stella
Heli-skiing chopper over learners slope at Lake Stella

Paraponting form the top of Mt Lyford

Unfortunately in November of 1989 W&D went into receivership leaving D & J Simpson on their own. With only the first stage completed in the project, the village and the Stella Ski Field. Since 1989 they have slowly, but steady continued to develop Mt Lyford Alpine Resort with the new Mt Terako ski area opening in 1993 and continual property development in the village area. In early 2001 the Mt Lyford Lodge was opened offering a fantastic venue at the base of the village with accommodation, restaurant and bar facilities.  

Currently the Simpson family continues to operate Mt Lyford Alpine Resort with the snow resort being operated by Doug, Jenny, Hamish and Tim Simpson.


Doug and Graeme in the Terako Lodge ski hire



Complimentary Mulled Wine at Lake Stella


Champagne lunch on the top of Mt Terako


Mt Lyford Alpine Resort, Rural Delivery, Waiau, North Canterbury, New Zealand
Cell Phone:025 330 999
Ph: +64 3 315-6178
Fax:+64 3 315-6158

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