Situated at the northern tip of the southern alps, Nelson Lakes Gliding Club is one of NZ’s best soaring sites.
As a winch launching club, there are few clubs anywhere in the country with cost structure as low as ours. Not having expensive towplanes allows the club to reinvest in facilities and aircraft so we have great glider availability and can launch quickly.
Our hanger houses 3 of the clubs fleet of 4 aircraft and the twin-drum launching Tost winch. Also parked on the airstrip are 6 or so privately owned gliders in their trailers. We have 2 Twin Astirs, AJ and MZ, a single Astir, NH and an LS4-a, CX. For more details on our gliders that fly out of Lake Station click here.
The winch launch gets us some 1600 feet above the valley floor and level with the two low ridges on either side. These nursery ridges give us ridge or thermal lift and from them we normally progress onto the Southern Alps. The local mountain peaks of the Southern Alps range from 5000 to over 7000 feet above sea level and are often snow-capped.
Much of this flying is over the Nelson Lakes & Kahurangi National Parks.
Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotorua are the main side-by-side twin lakes with numerous other smaller lakes and tarns here and there. West is the accessible bush-clad Kahurangi National park. The closest mountain to the west is Mount Owen whose limestone scenery was used in the Lord of the Rings movie. To the East of us are the wide dry grasslands of Molesworth country. We have few airspace limitations from our site. Land-out options are limited but defined and our cross country flying is done within gliding range of them.
What to expect at Lake Station
Situated at the northern tip of the southern alps, Nelson Lakes Gliding Club is one of NZ’s best soaring sites. When gliding, you are usually at Lake Station airfield all day, so come prepared! The nearest shop is in St Arnaud, 9km away. The weather can vary from snow and frost, to scorching sunshine. Bring plenty of warm clothes in winter. In summer, long sleeved tops or sunscreen and insect repellent are a must. Sandflies are there most of the year. Sometimes the field is covered in fresh sheep droppings – bring a change of footwear or gumboots.
CLUBHOUSE - (we call it Glider base) A small lined shed sort of place with plenty of windows, table, chairs and deck facing the runway. Lots of gliding magazines and other interesting material. It has the base set radios in it.
PHONES - There is 3G cell phone coverage. There is a landline available for use, free calling to the Nelson area. Ph 03 5211870. This is the phone you can ring on Friday evening, its answer phone message says whether the Club is flying on Saturday or Sunday.
POWER - No mains power available, but there is a low current 240 volt inverter in the glider base. Good for running laptops and similar. It runs off a solar charged 12 volt battery.
WATER - There is a farm water supply near the clubhouse. There is a gas bottle and kettle for boiling water. Some cups and teabags. We recommend you bring your own drinking water, water bottle, cup, tea, coffee.
TOILET - Longdrop located beside the Hanger.
RUBBISH - For a large group, it’s a good idea if someone brings their recycling bin from home.
Lake Station Airfield, 9km west of St Arnaud (one hour's drive south of Nelson, South Island, New Zealand).
Lake Station is a large sheep and cattle farm owned by the McConochie families who allow our club to use their 1500 metre long airstrip, 1700 feet above sea level.