Category Archives: Queenstown

Inhaling the History

The Historic Black Hotel in Ophir was a welcome sight for a late lunch cup of coffee. After an amazing Lemon Meringue Tart and a good look around the hotel, we set off for a good look around Ophir with the camera.

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The Post Office. Still in use today.

The original Post Office seems to be the hub of the History in the area and they’re doing a good job of promoting the old buildings. The Post Office still operates for 3 hours each day. Behind it is the original Jail Cell from Omakau.

Check out the Gallery below for a slideshow of Ophir

After an hour or so here, we went over the bridge to the Omakau Commercial Hotel where they have a great Motorhome and caravan parking setup behind. The parks are all on concrete pads and most have an optional ensuite with a shower and toilet area.

The parking with the ensuites

The parking is $15 a night with power and the ensuites are $10 pp per night. We opted to do our own thing and just use the power.

Parking with the Ensuites

After settling down Rafe, we went for a walk around the town through a new subdivision and its amazing how many new houses are being built here. The Rail Trail has really set things alight in the whole Central Otago region.

The front of the Hotel

We headed into the Hotel to pay for our park and have a drink and meet Stacy who gave us a great background on the pubs history.
It was originally built in 1898 as a Homestead on a 200 acre block, by the Leask family, one of the original settlers and his family. There are original stables out behind the Hotel which are used as a function centre.

The Function Centre

When Stacy and her husband took over the Hotel 11 years ago. The weeds were knee high and it desperately needed some tlc. Stacy’s dad was involved in helping to restore the pub and after they realised that Stacy’s grandmother was a house maid at the pub for years, Stacy’s Dad couldn’t bring himself to sand the top of the handrail but lacquered and painted everything else. The thought was his mother would have run her hands up and down it over many years.

Stacy with the banister

The rooms all look fantastic and all have a slightly different look so they’ve done a great job. The grounds are immaculate and it now looks well loved.

After having a few drinks down in the bar, we spent an hour or so back in Rafe and then came back for Tea. I had Pork Belly which was really reasonably priced and was stunning. Fiona had Blue Cod and that was good too.

Old farming gear along the driveway

A lovely place to stay and Stacy is about to put the hotel on the market so if you think this is you, give her a call at the Omakau Commercial Hotel.

Rafes Track to Ophir

Let’s start with Wet Jacket

Fiona’s sister Sara had popped into Queenstown for 3 days to see her daughter Jessa. Sara lives on Waiheke Island which is now pretty much a suburb of Auckland which has a strong wine culture, so with her arriving in Queenstown, we were going wine tasting.

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Sara, Jessa and Fiona wine tasting at Wet Jacket

We were staying at Creeksyde Motor camp and first thing in the morning, Sara and Jessa arrived in Jessa’s car and we were off. The thought was to start at a really popular Vineyard by the Queenstown / Arrowtown turnoff and we went from there. They had a cheesery there too so we tasted that as well.

Nice Cheese at Wet Jacket

There was some wonderful Goats cheese and some nice Blue Cheese too. We bought a bit of each. The lady running the wine tasting was french and really knew her stuff.  Sara and I bought a couple of bottles between us and next we were heading for the Gibbston valley, to go the Chard Vineyard.

The road through the vineyard through the Kawarau Gorge

To get there we had to cross the bridge by the Kawerau Gorge bungy jump and then turn right up the hill and drive along a road that literally clung to the cliff. Amazing.

Great buildings at Chard Farm

They had a great Vineyard and after tasting, Sara and I bought more wine. We were doing well 🙂

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Next was Mt Rosa Vineyard where we had Edita showing us the wine and she knew her Onions too.

Mt Rosa’s vineyard in the Gibbston valley

Stunning wines and they had a pack of two bottles of Rose and some mulled wine syrup which made 3 bottles of mulled wine. I’ll get some other cheaper Rose rather than use their good stuff for Mulled Wine. We had a lot of fun there and Edita did well.

Jessa checking out a Pinot Gris at Mt Rosa

It was time for lunch so we headed back towards Queenstown slightly for the Gibbston Valley Tavern. The original old pub and is just a real charmer with several original outbuildings in Schist.

Lunch at the historic Gibbston Valley Tavern

We had some amazing pizza’s there and headed back to Rafe at Creeksyde to try some of our new wine and cheese. Fiona doesn’t drink wine so she drove which was just as well 🙂

Great history at the Gibbston Valley Tavern

A wonderful day with clear blue skies and nice people in some great places with great Wine.

Alive and Hopping

That is Queenstown ! Its a busy town and seems to be going 100 miles an hour everywhere you look.

The options for camping here are limited to MotorCamps really and we were happy to stay at an old familiar spot which used to be a Top 10, The Creeksyde Holiday Park. We’ve stayed here both in Rafe, a renter Mercedes and our old caravan Wee Rafe. Its a lovely spot but like all the Campgrounds in Queenstown comes with a premium price. As a treat and as it was close for Jessa, it was worth it. On the way there, we stopped at Pak N save in Frankton and did a big shop for a week or more and wow, that placed has sure changed. Its like a whole new town there now.

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Our park in Queenstown

After settling down Rafe in his little spot, Fiona walked into town and I unhooked my bike and biked down for a look see. I headed down to the ferry wharf to watch the goings on and Fiona went to some Art and Clothes shops.

The waterfront
Queenstown waterfront

We met down at the waterfront and enjoyed a cuppa watching the tourists getting on and off boats and generally people watched for a while. Lots of fun in the sun.

A reminder of where you are !

We eventually headed back to Rafe and got organised for tea.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Jessa popped in about 6pm and it was a fun night catching with one of “our favourite Nieces”!

Fiona and Jessa

It was great to see Jessa Jean and we’re looking forward to catching up again in a few weeks when Fiona’s sister Sara (Jessa’s Mum) comes down for a holiday.

Rafe’s track through to Queenstown