Category Archives: Central Otago

Art Deco on the Rail Trail

I used to joke with my old friend Gary who lived here, about Rantartica but over the 4 days we spent in the new NZMCA park here in Ranfurly, the temperature ranged during the day between 24 and 26 degrees every day. Beautiful blue skies with only one morning with a bit of drizzle.

Click on an image for Hi Res

The NZMCA Park in Ranfurly

Stunning weather and a lovely town.

Rafe with the awning out in the heat of Ranfurly

The people are really friendly and the buildings are amazing.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Around the time of the war, the town was struck badly by a string of suspicious fires where a significant number of iconic buildings were burnt to the ground.

Once the tea rooms, now a museum.

At the time, money was scarce and the cheapest and quickest way to replace them was to do the Art Deco style. The town is blessed with these lovely old buildings with some real class.

The famous Ranfurly pub

The drizzly day we had was when the town had its market day at the railway station and it was just great to see the whole town come out to play, even in the dreary weather. It was only shortlived and an hour two later, there was brilliant sunshine again.

The entrance to the park

We were originally only going to stay for two nights but its such a great place to stay so we stayed for four! The NZMCA park is right in the middle of town and is huge.

Looking down the road to Dunedin towards the St Bathans mountains

We’ll definitely be staying here again.

Rafe’s track to Ranfurly

A Bike ride to Wedderburn

We were staying at the NZMCA park at Ranfurly which is huge and virtually right in the middle of town. There is a dump station right next door along with recycling.

On our first night there, we met up again with David and Therese from Papamoa who we bumped into while we were looking at Ophir. It was nice to see them again.

Click on an image for Hi Res

The NZMCA Park. Dave and Therese’s caravan on the left. Rafe on the right.

The next day saw an excellent day for weather, little wind, about 25C and we were ready to go. My old mate Gary who used to live here for a few years with his wife Chris, had recommended that we head up to Wedderburn as its only 9k’s and although its a slight uphil run all the way, we would love coming back after a beer at the Wedderburn pub πŸ™‚

Starting off at Ranfurly Railway Station

Sounded like a great idea to me! Gary and Chris moved down here a few years ago and setup a B&B just on the outskirts of the town but have now moved to the warmer climes of Ruakaka to be closer to their adult children.

We left the Ranfurly Railway Station right on 10am and off we went. It was really easy riding for most of the way. The only impediment in some parts was watching places where there was extra gravel that could slip under the wheels but the surface generally was easy.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

There are a couple of huts along the way for a breather along with historical information. One has a loo slightly off in the trees but its there !

Fiona heading for Wedderburn

I didn’t look at the watch when we arrived but it was lunchtime so after some water and a cup of coffee in the pub, we had lunch which was fantastic.

The Wedderburn Tavern

I think her name was Sheryl (not sure) but she and her husband are selling after running the pub for 17 years ! They are moving to a new lifestyle place North of Auckland so that’s a big change for them. They have done a great job with their Wedderburn Tavern. It looks fantastic.

Great Countryside

We set off on our bikes and with minimal pedalling, were back in Ranfurly in time to tidy up and to meet up with David and Therese for a drink at the end of the day. Its great riding and Gary hit the nail on the head for a ride from Ranfurly. Its a lot of fun and even for someone like me. We both found it easy on an ordinary bike.(Not electric!)

Val’s Park Over Property.

When we met Stan and Sara in the Catlins NZMCA park, Stan who is from Alexandra said, that we had to make sure we stayed at Vals POP.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Rafe parked with power

Val and her husband Russell have been hosting NZMCA’rs since the early 1990’s and she is one of the earliest POP’s in the NZMCA bible. They’re both really nice people and their property is just superb with some power points and a complete Shower and Toilet setup setup in the corner.

In the next paddock

There is even a shed for happy hour on one side and it is beautifully quiet down a long right of way.

Part of the amazing garden

Pam and Bob from Dunedin were there in their Caravan and they’ve been helping with some of the gardening and maintenance. The gardens are spectacular.

Great driveway

We popped in to check in for a park briefly early in the afternoon and then went for a nosey around Clyde. Its a great wee town with a great cafe in the old BNZ building wher we had these amazing date cakes along with a cup of coffee.

Click on the Gallery for a Slideshow

After a quick look at the Clyde Dam, we headed back as there were only three power points left at Vals and its first in, best dressed for $12 a night.

Clyde Dam

We joined in with the others there in the corner shed in the sun for a few drinks with cheese and biscuits as you do.

A great place to stay and we’re looking at heading back there to have a decent look around Alexandra and Clyde.

Rafe’s track to Vals

Simon and Kath’s Bus

We met Simon and Kath at the happy hour shed at Vals POP just outside Clyde. They’ve been there off and on since November last year while they work to finish off the bus before their travels start this summer. They originally came from Invercargill so know the area well.

Click on an Image for Hi res

Simon and Kath

They bought the bus last October from a couple of chaps in Clyde and it sounds like they bought well. Its a 1998 Hino Blue Ribbon A Class probably coverted to a Motorhome in the 90’s in Christchurch. It is powered by a Volvo V8 diesel which is in great shape.

The living space

Simon had a background in Classic Cars and is very capable with a crescent spanner and a scewdriver and has lots of good plans, which include new wheel rims and finishing off the paintwork.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The battery bank is all housed tidily in one locker on the side and looks impressive. All the hatches down the sides are all well kitted out with everything any Motorhomer could want with sliding drawers and lift up covers. Great Storage.

Galley

The inside furnishings are all leather and he has a couple of TV’s nicely positioned partly in a great drinks cabinet and one in the bedroom.

Some Tui’s next door

They’re really looking forward to getting away over summer in it once they’ve finished the new work. A lovely Motorhome with tons of room.

Lakeside

Pinders Pond would have to be one of the most beautiful parking spots in Central Otago. Its also free and is an easy 5k’s to Roxburgh by the most amazing bike trail right next to the Clutha river.

Click on the Images for Hi Res

Lots of space

After leaving the Gold Cottages campsite and saying goodbye to Lloyd and Kate, we headed down the road about 6k’s to Pinders Pond.

Is that a reflection ?

When we arrived, were a few Motorhomes and two Caravans there so we just plonked ourselves on the grass and had lunch.

Close to the bike trail

About an hour later, the place literally cleaned out and the Motorhomes all left and we moved back to a flatter spot closer to the Caravans.

Click on the gallery below for a Slideshow

There is a bike trail which goes right up to the Roxburgh bridge and beyond one way and I think it goes to Millers Flat and beyond the other way. It is very easy riding and we were off. It took us about 20 minutes or so to get to Roxburgh so we celebrated with a cup of coffee in one of the cafe’s there before riding back.

Fiona nearly at Roxburgh
Roxburgh bridge

A lovely spot. Thanks to several people for recommending it.

Rafes Track to Pinders Pond

Small World

As I had driven past a few Fruit and Vege stalls as we came into Roxburgh, I could tell Fiona was getting edgy and one finally came with plenty of parking and warning πŸ˜€. As I drove slighly past it to get to let traffic past so I could reverse and drive in, another Motorhome came in behind me so after waiting for them to park, I drove in next to them.

Fiona recognised the them as old friends  and there was an immediate reunion in the fruit stall carpark 😎

Click on the Images for Hi res

We made arrangements to meet in town later at the Gold Cottage Campground across the river.

Nice!

The camp is run by a lovely lady who has had it for 7 years but is making huge changes to it. The grounds, the amenities and the parks are absolutely top notch and all for $30 for two on a powered site.

A sluicing lake behind the park.
Pipe seats

There are also tracks out the back of the grounds which take you to Roxbough and lots of historical bits from the Gold mining days around with some great explanation boards.
Very easy and comfortable and it is all beautifully terraced so its easy to get a level parking spot.

A relic of the area.
At the campground

Lloyd and Kate arrived later on and we enjoyed several hours of fun with a few drinks.

Rafe with Lloyd and Kates Carado next to us

Lloyd was a bit of legend with the whitebait and cooked up some fritters that were sensational. It was a great night. They’re great fun and I’m sure we’ll catch up again soon.

Some of the Gold Cottages
Playground

They’re currently living and working up past Wanaka and having a ball with their new Carado Motorhome.

Rafe’s track to Roxburgh

The Scout Den

Just after arriving in Lawrence, we found the motorcamp was closed frm April until November! Its just as well there are other options in Lawrence πŸ™‚ .

Click on the images for Hi res

At the Scout Den. With Mary beside us.

Over an old bridge from the main road and on the left is the Lawrence Scout Den. It has a nice big hard flat lawn in front of it with room for a few. When we arrived there was one other in there so we lined up with plenty of space and settled rafe down for the night.

The park setup

I had a quick look around the area and next to where were parked was a display of old Gold mining equipment and it looked great. A small picnic table surrounded with all things Gold and its history from the area. Neat. Fiona went for a walk into town which was just over the bridge and had a wee nosey around too.

I went over to the box to pay the $6 donation and there in the book was Mary’s name from NZ Motorhome Friends. I went over and knocked on her door and invited her over for a cup of tea.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

I’ve seen a lot of her pictures and comments on facebook so it was nice to finally meet her. Mary is from Hamilton but is cruising around NZ and doing in style in her Swift Motorhome.

We had an early night after that and in the morning drove into Lawrence to have a bit of look around.

Contrast of buildings
A traffic jam in Lawrence πŸ™‚

There are some amazing old buildings here and like most other Central Otago towns are making the most of their history and it looks great.

Rafe’s track to Lawrence