The historic Skippers Canyon homestead was burnt to the ground as a significant blaze ripped through the scenic camping spot north of Queenstown overnight.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand communications shift manager Tim Reynolds said firefighters were called to the "significant event" at Skippers Canyon about 2am.
Two buildings were destroyed in the blaze and it also burned through about 1200sqm of vegetation, Reynolds said.
Firefighters had the blaze under control by about 4am.
Appliances from Arrowtown, Queenstown and rural fire, and about 20 firefighters, were involved in fighting the blaze.
According to the Department of Conservation the homestead, also known as the school house, was one of only two remaining timber buildings in Skippers Canyon dating to the gold rush era.
The neighbouring school, which was not damaged in the blaze, was built in 1879.
Queenstown senior station officer Dave Christie said the homestead was "burnt to the ground".
Police and a fire safety investigation officer were heading the scene this morning to determine the cause of the blaze, Christie said.
The historic school nearby "was fine" and campers helped keep the blaze from spreading.
"There was campers up there that more or less got stuck in and got it controlled."
He could not comment on whether it was thought the blaze was caused by New Year's revellers until the investigation was completed.
It was a big loss losing the historic homestead, he said.
The school and neighbouring homestead are listed as category 2 historic places by Heritage New Zealand.
DOC carried out a restoration project at the homestead and school in 2011.