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.

Beneath 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 essential place with a courthouse, banks and county places of work.

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 a ways and Ranfurly sprang up as the brand new centre of consideration.

Naseby slowly slumbered off into irrelevancy however over latest years it has grow 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 suggests you may go to any time of 12 months.  You may also 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 have been once I was child. These have been the times when all the products have 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 digital camera 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 may whereas away an hour or so. Unsuitable. 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 significantly a fencing wire strainer, the design of which continues to be in use right now.

The workshops are an perception into how issues have been performed and the women on the café, housed in a reproduction of the unique cottage, do a effective 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 – nevertheless it’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 saved 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 means of sluicing for gold. However the actual attraction is the Vulcan Resort. When you 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 ingesting at 4 within the morning with a bunch of shearers who had simply completed a giant Merino contract on one of many close by stations.

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

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

One in all my ingesting buddies that evening – a lot earlier within the night once I nonetheless retained a level of cranial readability – was a neighborhood miner who was satisfied that any day now he was going to hit the actual massive pay filth. 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 Previous White Horse Resort on the n. aspect of the street within the subsequent village, Becks, is certainly one of 10 oldest accommodations or former accommodations 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 the planet.

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

The locals have at all times been enterprising. The Lauder Resort initially confronted the railway.  When the road closed, the publican had it lifted up and rotated to face the street.  In the present day, 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 Business Resort have 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. If in case you have tons of time and a hankering to fossick round amongst historic ruins then it is 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 known 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 nevertheless it gave the city a begin.  It turned the executive centre for the Manuherakia Valley . . . .which accounts for the sumptuous Victorian buildings similar to a publish 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 – quite than establishing an costly bridge – Ophir started its lengthy decline and neighbouring Omakau blossomed.

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

Aside from its cute buildings – that are effectively definitely worth the couple of minutes diversion to see – the city can also be well-known, after a vogue, 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 commonly information the nation’s coldest winter days and hottest summer time days.

Then it’s on via Clyde, Cromwell and the Kawarau Gorge to Queenstowntown, Finest option 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 take pleasure in certainly one of nature’s little wild rivers. In a rustic the place, if they may, the mad energy planners would dam each river with hydro potential such locations have gotten all too uncommon.

Roaring Meg

Roaring Meg

Having mentioned 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, moderately unobtrusive.

At Roaring Meg there may be 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 ability 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 top 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 working establishments, The Cow. Been there 40 years and nonetheless nearly as good as ever. One of many few upsides to the rotten Covid pandemic is that with the slowdown within the hospitality business it was potential to get a desk instantly. Again within the pre-Covid days you would wait half an hour.

Roaring Meg

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

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 may 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.