The Lake Coleridge Region

Lodge Location

Lake Coleridge Lodge is located in Lake Coleridge Village, a picturesque settlement in the Canterbury High Country.

Just one hour’s drive from Christchurch, you travel inland up the Rakaia River Valley to find the village on the eastern fringes of the Southern Alps.

The village is on the banks of the Rakaia River alongside the historic Lake Coleridge Power Station, 165m below Lake Coleridge. The location takes advantage of the natural altitude drop for using water from the lake to power the hydro-station.

The Lake Coleridge region was named around 1848 in honour of nephews of English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge because of their work associated with surveying the area for European settlement.

Canterbury History

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Shops & fuel

There are no shops or fuel supplies at Lake Coleridge Village. The nearest shops are in the towns of Methven and Darfield (approx. 40 mins drive from Lake Coleridge Village), while fuel can also be bought from garages at Hororata on weekdays (9am-5pm).

Daytime Cafes

For Lodge guests we can make packed lunches but these need to be booked in advance.

Terrace Downs Golf Resort, just 15km from us, has a daytime cafe and there are also cafes in the villages of Methven, Hororata and Darfield.

Internet and cellphone services

There is WI-fi in the guest lounge for guests to use at no additional fee.

There is some cellphone coverage in the area. In Lake Coleridge Village there is reasonable coverage for cellphones on the 2 Degrees or Vodafone network, but no coverage on the Telecom network.

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Lake Coleridge Village experiences four distinct seasons – hot summer days (December-March); the many colours of autumn (April-May); snowfall at times during winter (June-August); and lush growth in spring (September-November).

Weather reports for the nearest town Ashburton provide some guide, although weather up the Rakaia Valley is sometimes very different from that on the Canterbury plains. You can also check out Met Service forecasts for the Canterbury High Country. In Lake Coleridge Village, shelter from surrounding mountains and hundreds of trees planted around the village means the weather is often milder than in other nearby areas.

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Life around Lake Coleridge

Since the mid 1800s, European settlers have made their living off large stations in the area farming merino and other sheep breeds, cattle, deer and crops.

Before European settlement, the area was used by Maori people who fished in the lake and rivers, hunted moa, and traveled through the area to and from the West Coast.

When the Lake Coleridge Power Station was built (1911-1914), the village grew into a bustling community with a school and several sports clubs.

Today only a handful of staff run the Power Station and the village has less than 25 permanent residents, although the population grows on weekends with people visiting holiday homes or on day trips.

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Historic Power Station

Lake Coleridge Power Station was the first state-owned hydro-electric power station to open in New Zealand on 25 November 1914. Building had begun in 1911 and the station’s construction was a considerable engineering feat.

Today the station is owned by TrustPower. Generation equipment has been refurbished in recent years and further development plans are under consideration.

More information about the station’s construction is on an information board in the village. The Lodge also holds historical records and has many photos on display.

Canterbury History

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Mona Anderson, MBE

During the 1960s and 70s, life in the Lake Coleridge High Country was shared with New Zealanders through 11 books written by Mt Algidus Station owner and author Mona Anderson.

Mona moved from Christchurch in 1940 to live with her husband Ron. When she arrived at Mt Algidus station (24km further inland from Lake Coleridge Village) there was no electricity or telephone and to reach their farm they had to cross the mighty Wilberforce River by horse and dray. Mona’s book ‘A River Rules My Life’ (1963) is a New Zealand classic.

Mona died aged 95 in 2004. Several of her books are in the Lodge library.

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Hart Arboretum

When building began on the Power Station, the landscape provided little natural shelter so people began planting trees to protect their homes from the nor-west winds.

From 1933, under the leadership of Power Station Superintendent Harry Hart, planting became more experimental and over the next 50 years Mr Hart oversaw the planting of more than 100 species of conifers and 200 varieties of shrubs. The large majority thrived.

Thanks to Mr Hart’s energy and vision, the village and Lodge grounds are now a very sheltered park-like place.

Canterbury History