Remote lodge provides many challenges

A Wild haven


Former Gore man Charlie Paterson experienced some pioneer-like challenges when he built what is probably the most remote bed and breakfast in the country, at Jamestown.

The story of floating a bath, which sits outdoors and is heated by a mix of solar power and a boiler, down river to get it to the site typify the lengths he went to so he could build his dream.

There are various ways to get to Charlie’s Place at Jamestown, at the coastal end of Lake McKerrow in Fiordland’s Hollyford Valley.

One involved walking all or part of the way on the Hollyford Track or there is the option of flying.

The enormity of the challenges faced by the former Stewart Island Regal Salmon manager included finding ways to transport in materials for the 149sqm kitset therma-panel home, to battling endless red tape to obtain resource consents.

Charlie had the distinction of presenting the first application under the Resource Management Act for freehold land within the Fiordland National Park.

Opposition to the project came from a variety of sources with one of the most surprising from Southern Health.

“They opposed me on the grounds of noise pollution.” Charlie said.

He said greed originally prompted him to search out and buy three of the five freehold sections on the lakeshore settlement of Jamestown.

Then came the building of the house.

He began by helicoptering in materials from the end of the Hollyford Road to the head of Lake McKerrow, then barged them up the lake on 44-gallon drums.

However, before he had all the materials delivered, he had run out of money.

Not to be beaten, he floated the remaining materials down the Hollyford River, sparking one or two adventures.

Although Charlie has accumulated a wide variety of work experiences, that knowledge didn’t include any on a building site. But between himself and a builder, the outer shell of the house was erected.

“September 1995 was the day I started the chainsaw”, he said.

The aim of the project was to provide a touch of luxury in the wilderness and by all accounts Charlie has achieved that goal.

Apart from the lure of a good bed and ensuite, the thought of fresh venison marinated in ginger, garlic, honey and wine would be almost too much for a weary tramper to pass by.

While the people he meets and the challenges of carrying out everyday duties, including hunting deer and living in what must be one of the most beautiful parts of the country and communing with nature sound like heaven to many, there was a downside.







Loneliness could take its toll.

His visitor season is from November to April and in the off-season to supplement income, Charlie works as a stoker on Queenstown’s Earnslaugh.

So far New Zealander’s make up the majority of those visiting Charlie’s Place and are mainly middle-aged and beyond.

But the tranquil setting has been used by honeymooners.

Now the project has been completed and all that remains is to build up visitor numbers, Charlie has started his next project – writing a book about his experiences.

He hopes the book will help answer all the questions he is continually asked.


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