1850's this area was discovered, by the sheep thief James
Mackenzie. They say he used this area as an escape trail.
Farmers moved into the area but struggled severely with difficult weather, poor soils,
isolation and rabbits.
recreationalists and tourists began arriving to enjoy the splendid sights
and challenge the mountains offered. Rudolf Wrigley built the first
son, Harry, followed on, building a grand hotel and new cars to take bring
travellers from the nearest railway. The South Island Skiing sport began
here with the arrivals of the keen Norwegian climbing guides
hotel upgrades and planes being common, Harry (now an ex WW2 pilot) invented
the ski plane to land in snow on the nearby Tasman Glacier. More tourists
arrived. Business boomed and branched out to a national flying and
transport company. The hermitage hotel was replaced after a fire by a world
class facility. The National Park status came to the area.
HEP scheme raised the nearby glacier lake requiring the reconstruction
of the highway. Visitor numbers grew with the upgraded access roar and
it is still growing along with
Hermitage Hotel had a major upgrade to its current status. The settlement
grew and new flood protection systems were put in place.