Tag Archives: Small Towns

Lakeside with the Pines

The storm was a bit of a non event at Geraldine. There was a bit of wind in the afternoon but not enough to upset our 5pm meeting 🙂 Overnight there was a little rain but not enough to keep us awake at all so when we woke up to bright sunshine, it was like we’d missed something 🙂

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We were leaving Peski’s today after more than a week with Sue and David’s wonderful hospitality and with our neighbours, Ray and Margaret, decided we’d meet up at the NZMCA’s superb park on the lakes edge in Tekapo.

Tekapo NZMCA park with Ray and Margaret’s Bus on the right

I’ve never been here before but its a stunning spot. It was a bit grey and gloomy when we first arrived and just as we were leaving for a walk to the church along the track to town, Ray and Margaret arrived.

Love the different layers in the colour
A tribute to Border Collies

The wind was howling from the west but as we got closer to the Church, more blue sky appeared and the wind dropped off slowly.

On our walk back from town

By the time we returned less than an hour later, we had sunshine and lots of it.

Lake Tekapo late on our first day

The next day, Ray and Margaret went for a bike ride to the pools and I rode while Fiona walked into the township. The track goes right down the side of the NZMCA park and finishes at the old stone Church. I couldn’t believe all the tourists going nuts at the church with their point and shoot cameras. All good for the countries tourist dollars!

The Stone Church with the tourists

The last time I was here, there were only a few houses and a few bars. Now its a fully fledged town.

From the new Footbridge looking down on the Lake

After lunch, we headed to the supermarket and I headed back to the NZMCA park on my bike with the veges for the fridge and Fiona had a look around the shops and walked back.

The park though is fantastic. Its a bit lumpy and uneven but I see that a roped off area further down has had some remedial work on levelling it out but we found places we could park in without any problem.

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A nice park and there are some public loos just along the track a bit from the park. (5 minutes walk) There is also a dump station just across the road.

On our ride in the next day

The look of the lake never ceases to amaze me with the different light. The water is almost turquoise and when the mountains have some sun on them with no clouds around, the lake is stunning. A lovely place to stay.

Rafe’s track to Tekapo

John Brittens International Motorhome

Where we were staying at Peski’s just out of Geraldine, was an easy 4k’s ride in to the town.

Geraldine has a fabulous Car, Truck and Tractor Museum along with washing machines, old cinema projectors and anything of note. Its an amazing place.

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We set off on our bikes to ride to the museum and spent an hour or so having a good look around.

Fiona with her great auntie Jeannie’s Morris

Fiona’s great aunty Jeannie’s old 1948 Morris is in the museum so we were keen to check it out as Fiona had travelled in it often as a small girl. Legend has it that Jeannie drained the radiator water every night and refilled it with hot water in the morning saying  “it started so much better. Anyway, Anti Freeze will rot the engine”! And there it is tucked in the corner.

We moved on to two other buildings where we found an old Gypsy styled Motorhome built on a 1926 International chassis by John Britten when he was in his early 20’s.

John’s Motorhome

Between 1972 to 1975, John purchased the old 1926 International Truck Chassis and set to turning it into a Motorhome for his travels around the South Island.

The Tiller

Everything is hand made. All the woodwork and engineering including the Califont for heating the water was all made by John.

The interior of Johns truck

On the sides, there are two hinged wooden doors as windows. There is even some stained glass on the back. It really is stunning given he ws so young and I guess it is no surprise that he went on to do great things with motorbikes and come up with the Britten race bike.

From the back. A nice stained glass window on the back. Note the opening wooden windows.

A great find and there is a lot more to see here. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Fun at the country Fete.

They really know how to promote one of these festivals down here judging by the turnout. The Geraldine Fete was held at a farm about 3 k’s north of Geraldine. There were thousands of people around and it was a great carnival atmosphere.

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Two stages with some great performers kept everyone entertained and it was a fun place to be.

One of the performing groups

I’m not sure how many stalls there were but there was some really interesting South Canterbury stuff available. Fiona and I spent a couple of hours walking around soaking up the vibes and it was neat to see everyone really enjoying themselves.

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I did give some thought to Rafe in the carpark with the long grass but it was no problem getting in or out with the queues.

Where’s Rafe?

We headed into our favorite  Geraldine Cafe for a coffee and a sticky bun before heading back to our park at Peskis’s.

Rafe’s track to the Fete

Botanical Parking

All the way around the South Island when we have talked to other Motorhomers and Caravanners, we’ve had the comment, “ when you’re in Geraldine, you HAVE to stay at Peskis!”.

Nice parking

Geraldine, Pleasant Point and all around this area is Fiona’s families old stamping ground, and there is lots of McLeod family history in this area so we were always going to be stopping here for some time!

Rafe tucked in for the first couple of nights

Peski’s was our destination and what an amazing place it is. Now run by Sue and David Fisher and their dog Tui. The best way to describe it is its like the Botanical Gardens which you can park your Motorhome or Caravan in.

The gardens

It is available to all NZMCA members and it is $15 for a powered site and $5 pp for a grass patch. $2 for the washine machine and $2 for the shower. There is also a cassette only Dump Station too which is also $2  and fresh water.

Down the driveway

We’d just come in the drive in early November, when we were welcomed by David who showed us where everything was and directed us to a powered site at the bottom of the Garden.

The place was reasonably busy but not fill by a long shot but everybody here was happy to be here and the atmosphere is something else.

Happy Hour

David works locally and the Park over property is officially Sue’s baby and it is easy to see they just love it here. They moved from the other side of Geraldine last November when the previous owners wanted to sell and its a stunning place to stay.

No wonder everyone raves about it. Whenever I turn around, I see one or both of them doing something in the grounds and they look fabulous.

Parking up

We decided to stay a week here as its handy to everything around here and every day we catch up with new neighbours and of course our very kind hosts, David and Sue.

They have just had a good friend of theirs make them a new letterbox which is a caravan with the wings on it with their street number.

Down behind the parking area are tracks into the bush and to the river which runs behind the property. David has set up a seat with bark and punga so you can relax down there with the river and solve the worlds problems 🙂

This is the second seat as the first one got washed away but Fiona and I spent a very pleasant ½ hour so as it was so hot and there was a nice breeze coming off the river.

The River
Fiona by the river

A great spot with fantastic hosts who are just amazing.

Running water at the river

We’ll be back here too. A lovely spot!

Rafe’s Track to Peski’s

Traders Chat

With the run of good weather seemingly endless, we headed on to Waimate to the NZMCA park for the night.

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A Grand entrance

This like most of the other NZMCA parks is just fantastic with plenty of room and all the features you would expect with a dump station just around the corner.

We cruised in, got settled by some trees on the grass and checked the place out.

Nice and flat with lots of taps

The park is only about 1k from the centre of town so is easily within walking distance. In the morning, it got a wee bit overcast and grey. Fiona rode into town for a look around and I followed her later once I’d finished a chore or two.

The following day after some late drizzly rain, it was brilliantly fine again so we parked by the Waimate reserve where they had Market Day. It was nice wandering around and just seeing the locals sitting in the sun, chatting away.

At the market

I think it was more of a social get together rather than anyone stressing too much about making huge sales 🙂

The main street at Rush hour 😉

I was impressed with the NZMCA park as was everyone else who parked there.

The Recycling area

Well done to those who put it together and look after it.

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.

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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.

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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

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