St Arnaud Holiday Cottages



Information about the area




We think St. Arnaud is a special place. The scenery is fabulous, there are lots of things to do, and the local community is the best bunch of people you are likely to meet. (We may be a little biased!) Below you will find some useful links about the area. Since this list is by no means complete, we also recommend the following:


1.      Go outside and sniff the air. It varies a lot depending on the time of the year, but it is always as fresh as you can get and absolutely delicious. Pity we can't bottle it. We'd sell it to those poor city-dwellers and make millions.


2.      Say hello to the Eels at the Kerr Bay Wharf.  They seem to know that they are safe being in a National Park and as a consequence, deal with swimmers with surprising equanimity.


3.      Try to wake up for a few moments in the morning and listen to the dawn chorus.


4.      Stop and listen to the endangered Kaka flying overhead at dusk, making calls that alternate between a melodic whistle and a raucous screech (Occasionally both the Kaka and Kea stop around the village to say "Hi", so keep an eye out.)


5.      Keep an ear out for Kiwi too, especially if you are staying in the village. Re-introduced in the last few years, they seem to love it here, judging by the baby Kiwis being produced at the moment.


6.      Visit the Department of Conservation Visitor's Centre. They have a great centre full of information about the area. If they don't know something, then it is not worth knowing.


7.      Drink the water. It is GOOD. (Not, however, out of the streams. Some visitors decided they loved some areas so much they left us Giardia as a wee present.)


8.      If you have small kids, rent a key for the local Primary School swimming pool at the DoC visitor's Centre, or challenge them to a game of tennis in the school grounds.


9.      Go for a walk around the village. There are plenty of short walks around the village, all of them very pretty.


10.  Rent a mountain bike from the St. Arnaud village store, or a canoe from Lake Rotoiti Water Taxis.


11.  Visit the Lake Rotoiti Chapel. The views are really lovely and the services (10.30am on Sundays) put the money where the mouth is.


12.  Come to a "Friendly Friday" at the Lake Rotoiti Community Hall or the Cafe (4.30pm most Fridays) to share a drink or a cuppa and meet the locals.


13.  If you come in winter and we get a few days of hard frosts, get ready for some ice-skating at the local ice-skating pond.




Weather forecast:



Nelson Lakes National Park


What to do


About Nelson Lakes


Rotoiti Mainland Island:


Friends of Rotoiti:


Pest control for Kaka:


Monitoring Kea:


Local organisations:


Lake Rotoiti School:


Lake Rotoiti Lodge:




Classic Boats:


Power Boats:

Lake Rotoiti, 26th, 27th February 2011


Alpine Lodge Loop the Lake:


NBS Nelson Lakes 90


Rainbow ski-field primary school races


Nelson Lakes Tuna Hoe


The local community also produces a community newsletter, which comes out fortnightly during the school term. This outlines what is happening in the local area. If you are interested in getting it emailed to you, please contact us.


Things to do:


Tramps / hikes / walks:


Skiing – Rainbow ski-field:


Mountain bike tracks:


Trout fishing:


4WD tracks:


Gold panning – Louis Creek:


White water rafting:



(Opening times vary depending on the time of year. We recommend that you ring first.)

Alpine Lodge (Evening meals) and Alpine Lodge Café (breakfast and lunch) Ph: 03 521- 1869

Tophouse Ph: 03 521- 1846

St. Arnaud Alpine Village Store: 03 521-1854 (Hot pies and food.  Fish and chips during weekends)



Index to Brunner's journeys in the area, 1864 – 1868


Name change,_New_Zealand


Lake Rotoiti holidays in the 1930's


Tophouse murder


Film Location:


Lord of the Rings filming locations


Rugged Gold (1994) (Filmed at Lake Rotoiti, mouth of Buller River and Teetotal flats)


Things to be aware of:

Now, we don't want to scare you about the following, but a little forewarned is forearmed. Let's face it, we don't have any animal that is going to jump out from behind a rock and eat you, so we are not talking anything too hideous.


·        Didymo – or rock snot, is an unwanted gift from overseas visitors. It is now in some of our rivers. PLEASE take steps to make sure that you don·t spread it around because it looks hideous, feels hideous, and is a real bane to fishermen. See for information on how to stop the spread.


·        Mountain safety – unlike many countries in the world, you won't find a cable car or café at the top of any mountains. Make sure you are fully prepared even on day trips, and contact the DoC centre before you go on any overnight tramps.


·        Sandflies – all the prettiest places in New Zealand have them. We have one or two of them here too, especially in cloudy weather. After a year or two they don't bother you too much, but if you don't have the time to wait, make sure you bring some insect repellent with you.


·        Flies – country areas have lots of flies. The best thing is to open the windows and let them fly in and out by themselves. They are not like those nasty annoying urban flies that buzz around your head and don't take the hint. These flies want to get out of the house fast!


·        Wasps – DoC is doing a great job dealing to these nasty things, but there are still lots and lots of them around during summer as they eat the Honeydew on the Beech trees. If you are allergic, bring your medicine, but on the whole they leave you alone unless you decide to tread on one in bare feet.


·        Mice – every three or four years the native Beech trees blossom – this is called a Beech mast. Mice love this stuff, and their numbers increase exponentially with all the extra food. Often they find their way into houses as well. The only answer is to buy lots of mice traps and poison and wait for the numbers to decline.


·        Dogs and cats – we love living right next door to a national park with endangered birds and insects on our doorsteps. Apparently Kiwi are to dogs like a roast meal is to a starving person, while we all know what cats are like, so please leave your pets at home. (If you do have to bring your dog, there is a great dog walking area (with resident rabbits) on the Teetotal flats. Contact DoC for further information.)