A Central Otago rail-side street journey

For a lot of the second day of my street journey exploring Central Otago in New Zealand, I’ll journey alongside the well-known Central Otago Rail Path and fossick across the villages alongside this a part of its journey.

First name was in Naseby, a city which didn’t rejoice on the coming of the railway early final century.

Under the Ida Vary, tucked away in forestry environment, the village of Naseby is sort of a charmer. The city was once a significant gold mining centre with as many as 5000 diggers working their fingers to the bone searching for riches.

It was, at the moment, the executive centre of the area, an necessary place with a courthouse, banks and county workplaces.

A crisp Nasbey Morning.

They hold the house fires burning on a crisp Nasbey Morning.

The old county office in Naseby.

The previous county workplace in Naseby.

The railway, nonetheless, skirted the city by far and Ranfurly sprang up as the brand new centre of consideration.

Naseby slowly slumbered off into irrelevancy however over latest years it has turn out to be a preferred vacation vacation spot.

Ever considered giving curling a go?  It’s a bit like garden bowls however performed with stones on an ice rink. Naseby has the one indoor curling rink within the Southern Hemisphere which implies you possibly can go to any time of yr.  You can even go ice skating, or hurl your self downhill in a luge at Naseby Ice Rink, Luge and Snow Park

Within the absolute darkness so removed from any mild air pollution you will get an introduction into the mysteries of the evening sky with Naseby Night Sky Tours.

Sheep grazing in the eraly morning sun

Sheep grazing within the early morning solar close to Ranfurly.

Subsequent, one other aspect journey, this time to Oturehua, about 5 minutes from the primary street, and well-worth the diversion.

Gilchrist’s grocery store there’s a real traditional.  It’s simply priceless . . . precisely like grocery shops had been once I was child. These had been the times when all the products had been stacked on cabinets behind the counter and the grocery store fetched every merchandise as you learn it from the checklist. That is precisely the identical. Take a digicam and get a shot of the way in which life was once within the final actual grocer’s store of all time. And purchase one thing – to assist hold the dream alive.

The cafe at Hayes Engineering Works

Hayes Engineering Works, doesn’t, at first blush, sound like someplace you would possibly whereas away an hour or so. Flawed. Earnest Hayes was a intelligent bloke. After arriving within the space in 1882 he began inventing instruments to simplify work on his farm however earlier than lengthy his innovations discovered a prepared market regionally and even abroad. Issues like windmills and rabbit bait cutters, however notably a fencing wire strainer, the design of which remains to be in use immediately.

The workshops are an perception into how issues had been achieved and the women on the café, housed in a duplicate of the unique cottage, do a fantastic rendition of  morning/afternoon tea.

Then again on and off the freeway to go to St Bathans.

You’ve started working at it to get to this tiny hamlet – but it surely’s price it.

Clay cliffs near St Bathans

Clay cliffs close to St Bathans

It was a mining city that slowly fell into decay. The final settlers walked out within the Twenties. However within the Sixties a brand new breed of pioneers walked again in – and stored it simply as they discovered it.

St Bathans Lake

St Bathans Lake

Close by is St Bathans Lake. It was created by the landscape-ripping strategy of sluicing for gold. However the actual attraction is the Vulcan Resort. If you happen to don’t thoughts fundamental accom. then this is without doubt one of the must-stays in your go to.

It’s as previous because the hills, constructed of mud. The partitions are about two-feet thick. And the corporate on the bar is native and vibrant.

The final time I used to be there I used to be nonetheless consuming at 4 within the morning with a bunch of shearers who had simply completed an enormous Merino contract on one of many close by stations.

They had been knocking again handles of beer with 5-oz whisky chasers – and that was the ladies. Gawd is aware of what the blokes had been placing away.

I used to be effectively previous taking in that type of element.

One in every of my consuming buddies that evening – a lot earlier within the night once I nonetheless retained a level of cranial readability – was an area miner who was satisfied that any day now he was going to hit the actual large pay grime. Similar to each different miner anyplace else on the planet. I believe he’s nonetheless digging.

The White Horse Hotel at Becks.

The White Horse Resort at Becks.

The Outdated White Horse Resort on the n. aspect of the street within the subsequent village, Becks, is one in every of 10 oldest motels or former motels on the New Zealand Historic Locations Belief register,  however what makes this constructing one thing particular is its location:

It’s GPS repair, -45.0 / 169.7417, provides you a clue – it’s precisely half method between the Equator and the South Pole – it straddles the forty fifth parallel.

John Nixon Beck was in all probability not conscious of that merchandise of geographical trivia when he constructed the stacked stone resort in 1864.

On to Lauder, miles from anyplace, which is reputed to have the cleanest and most pollution-free ambiance on this planet.

That’s why, not distant, NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmosphere Research) in 1961 established its atmospheric analysis services. At the moment analysis is being carried out into the depletion of the ozone layer and local weather change.

The locals have all the time been enterprising. The Lauder Resort initially confronted the railway.  When the road closed, the publican had it lifted up and circled to face the street.  At the moment, it’s as soon as once more the railway line that’s respiration new life into the village.

In Omakau the previous stone stables alongside the Industrial Resort had been used as the situation for one of many nation’s finest recognized beer adverts . . . “The Deerstalkers’ Ball”  It’s worth a look on YouTube.

On a aspect street are the previous gold mining ghost cities of  Matakanui and Drybread. When you have tons of time and a hankering to fossick round amongst historic ruins then this can be a aspect journey definitely worth the taking. Take Racecourse Rd from the centre of the township.

The White Horse Hotel at Becks.

The Ophir Publish Workplace

Took one other diversion to close by Ophir, named after the biblical port of Ophir, well-known for its wealth and from which the Queen of Sheba despatched gold, silver and different tribute to King Solomon. Ophir – the New Zealand one – was initially referred to as Blacks, after a few farmer brothers on whose land gold was present in 1863.  The gold rush by no means did mount to a lot but it surely gave the city a begin.  It grew to become the executive centre for the Manuherakia Valley . . . .which accounts for the sumptuous Victorian buildings reminiscent of a put up workplace, courthouse. and police station.

At its peak it had a inhabitants of 1000 souls however when the railway engineers determined to construct the proposed rail line on the far aspect of the river – reasonably than developing an costly bridge – Ophir started its lengthy decline and neighbouring Omakau blossomed.

The unique city title nonetheless lives on because the title of the native resort, Blacks.

Aside from its cute buildings – that are effectively definitely worth the jiffy diversion to see – the city can be well-known, after a trend, for having the coldest temperature ever recorded within the nation.  Minus 21 deg C in July 1995. (Can hear you Alaskans and Canadians muttering “tropical”?).  It often information the nation’s coldest winter days and hottest summer season days.

Then it’s on by way of Clyde, Cromwell and the Kawarau Gorge to Queenstowntown, Finest method to describe that’s with photos.  (It’ll save hundreds of phrases).

The Clutha River from the Clyde Bridge.

The Clutha River from the Clyde Bridge.

Clutha River From the Goldfields Bridge.

Kawarau River From the Goldfields Bridge.

View of Cromwell

View of Cromwell

The town sign that welcomes you to Cromwell

The city signal that welcomes you to Cromwell

Half method alongside the Kawarau Gorge you come to Roaring Meg. Mentioned to have been named after Maggie Brennan, a rambunctious, loud-voiced, red-haired barmaid in one of many goldfields pubs. It’s a wild, rocky canyon strewn with nice inexperienced glittering schist boulders thrashed by torrents of water. It’s effectively definitely worth the cease if solely to get pleasure from one in every of nature’s little wild rivers. In a rustic the place, if they might, the mad energy planners would dam each river with hydro potential such locations have gotten all too uncommon.

Roaring Meg

Roaring Meg

Having stated all that, guess what?  Throughout the street, just under the outlet of Roaring Meg into the Kawarau River, they’ve constructed an influence station.  It’s, nonetheless, fairly unobtrusive.

At Roaring Meg there’s additionally a lookout level that offers you an important view and picture op of the Kawarau Gorge.


Roaring Meg is the torrent gushing from the facility station within the distance.

Not all the bikes made it to the end of the Rail Trail

Not all of the bikes made it to the tip of the Rail Path

Queenstown was the in a single day stopover. Foraging for an acceptable dinner hang-out I made a decision to go to one of many city’s lengthy operating establishments, The Cow. Been there 40 years and nonetheless pretty much as good as ever. One of many few upsides to the rotten Covid pandemic is that with the slowdown within the hospitality trade it was potential to get a desk instantly. Again within the pre-Covid days you could possibly wait half an hour.

Roaring Meg

Sadly I considerably over-indulged. I don’t normally order soup, primarily as a result of I feel it’s too costly, however their mushroom soup sounded too good to move on. And it was.  Far too good. Enormous chunks of mushroom in a  creamy deliciousness. It was a  meal by itself, however I had ordered one in every of their pizzas as a result of I knew they did a rattling fantastic rendition of that Neapolitan customary.

Having ordered it I felt obliged to eat it. It was the final three slices that did me in. I ought to have left them be, however that might be a legal waste.  It’s a marvel I didn’t find yourself just like the exploding diner in Monty Python’s Flying Circus skit.

Finish of Day Two.