A "loved and cherished" historic Queenstown property has gone up in flames.
A Fire Service spokesman said firefighters were called to the property in Lower Shotover Rd, near Queenstown, about 7.20am today.
Homeowner Phillip George watched in disbelief as flames engulfed the property.
"We woke in the early hours of the morning to smoke and smoke detectors saved us and our friends," he said. "The home we loved and cherished and it's a tragedy for Queenstown to see such a historic home go up in flames."
"We are sadly dealing with this this morning."
A witness said the inferno was terrifying.
"It was huge. It must be a million-plus house and section. I turned up, there was screaming ... there's nothing left of it. Something's exploded inside, the gas supply or something, and fire was shooting 30 feet [9 metres] into the air."
Firefighters from Queenstown, Frankton and Arrowtown are battling the blaze.
A Fire Service spokesman it was too early to say what had caused the fire.