“Never shall I forget the utter loneliness of the prospect – only the little far away homestead giving sign of human handiwork, the vastness of mountain and plain, of river and sky; the marvelous atmospheric affects – sometimes black mountains against a white sky, and then again, after cold weather, white mountains against a black sky.” Rather a lonely prospect that Samuel Butler described in his classic novel Erewhon.

We want to warmly welcome you to the Erewhon Station website and hope you enjoy learning about what we do in the harsh landscape Butler describes. Erewhon is a 35,000 acre property at the top of the Rangitata Gorge that Colin Drummond has owned since 1998. The Station runs Merino Sheep, Hereford Cattle, Deer and includes a large Clydesdale Horse Stud. This mountainous country provided the magnificent backdrop for the Lord of the Rings movie “The Two Towers”. Edoras, the capital of Rohan, was located on Mt Sunday at neighbouring Mt Potts Station.

NZ Merino Sheep

Regular sheep can’t handle it up here. But merinos have learned to hack the highlands by developing a coat of exceptionally fine wool that is highly sought after by companies such as Icebreaker. Shearing takes place in early October. The ewes are all blade shorn, and the Erewhon shed is the last on the blade shearers run. As well as providing more protection for the ewes, leaving more wool on the ewes means they don’t require as much feed as if they were machine-shorn. Huntaway and Heading Dogs are essential up here to muster this vast country. They are well fed on biscuits & concentrate from Colin’s other business Mighty Mix Dog Food. It is hard country, with 2.5ha needed for each sheep. The cheque from the wool clip barely covers costs so we supplement the farm’s income by breeding horses and offering tourists a back country experience – homestead accommodation, saddle or wagon rides including overnight treks up the valley.

NZ Merino Sheep

The use of horses is one of the idiosyncrasies of the Erewhon farming operation. Most of the tractor work is done with a team of Clydesdales, and all the stock work is carried out on foot or on horseback. We use horses because they are predominately quicker to ride most places, and it doesn’t matter what the river is doing, we can still get back. The Clydesdale team started off as a hobby, but have turned into a cost-efficient way of getting the crops in the ground and getting around the station safely.

Colin was raised on a dairy farm, but inspired by books written by Peter Newton and Barry Crump, he chose a career farming Merinos in the high country. He shares his love of this lifestyle with partner Erin Cassie who has the same love of the high country and horses.
The name Erewhon is a play on the word “nowhere” spelled backwards. But this wide valley with jagged peaks soaring to the sky is far from nowhere. Today, for these farmers the opportunity to own and operate a high-country station entrenched in Canterbury history, is “a dream come true”.