The description “open road” probably is best appreciated in Central Otago where the world around you looms stark and massive in both structure and design. The overused word “awesome” comes to mind providing the mental dimensions one finds traveling in this fabulous scenery. With a high sunshine count in the summer it is an area a traveler will discover a world of peaceful existence in award winning weather.
The old towns in the area provide historic significance unequalled in the settling of New Zealand based upon the frantic gold rush of the early days. Many have deteriorated into remnants of their former self while others have built upon the past glories and the re-created communities one can appreciate. Ranfurly took on the mantel of the Art Deco town and throws a wonderful party every year in celebration. St Bathans, off the beaten path, is one of our favourite places to stop at the pub.
Naseby is the place we make a point to return to every year as we pass through the South Island. The locals have created a welcome mat with the Naseby Hotel and the museum and historical areas rebuilt to full glory plus all the small and lovely homes in the area.
Two extremely significant situations that really provide a visitor should be aware of are the Gold Trail Cavalcade and the Bike Trail. The first year Paula and I had been in Ranfurly and were asked to attend the final day of the Cavalcade in Patearoa nearby.
I stood in utter awe at the end of the street as what appeared to me an opening from the past from where flowed this stream of early pioneers complete with period clothing either walking, on a horse, in wagons, large and small. My camera kept clicking.
The Otago Bike Trail is a must for those who are so inclined to pedal or walk through this stunning un-crowded country. This is an area too many people miss and is one of our favourites.
I would like to introduce you to something not found anywhere else in New Zealand. There was a TV advertisement some years past in New Zealand showing a group of hardy folks being told after several years it finally was cold enough to enjoy their sport and they all gathered on the ice for curling. Now there is no way we will be there in that weather and I have always been extremely disappointed to have missed it. Then we discovered in Naseby the Indoor Curling Rink! It is open for everyone to have a go either individually or as a group or as a spectator with an overhead viewing room complete with bar facilities and quite comfortable. Perhaps you can get there to watch the professionals. Curling has been a heritage sport in the area since the late 1870’s but never all year round where we all can enjoy being a part of it as our choice of a top spot to visit.