A popular stop on the Otago Central Rail Trail, the Art Deco town of Ranfurly looks after visitors with friendly accommodation and tasty meals.
Ranfurly was established in 1898 as a railhead for the Central Otago railway line. At the time, the neighbouring gold rush town of Naseby was the main centre of Maniototo, but because the railway bypassed Naseby, Ranfurly gradually took over as the administrative and economic centre of the area.
In the early 1930s Ranfurly's increased status, coupled with several suspicious building fires, created a demand for a large number of new buildings. Art Deco was the architectural style of the time, and before too long Ranfurly was smartly outfitted with jazz-age buildings. This trend wasn't short-lived, because the local architect and builder continued to build Art Deco houses long after the fashion had faded.
Today, Ranfurly's beautiful buildings have been enthusiastically restored to their former glory. A highlight is the Centennial Milk Bar, which now houses a fascinating Art Deco museum. Browsers will also enjoy the second-hand Art Deco furniture and fittings shop, and the self-guided Art Deco walk. And if you're around in February, be sure to fit in Ranfurly's Art Deco festival.
As a popular stop on the Otago Central Rail Trail cycle journey, Ranfurly offers a choice of eating places and a broad range of accommodation, including motels, hotels, backpacker lodges and a camping ground.
Functional facts: Approx. population 710, i-SITE Visitor Centre, range of shops, medical centre, fuel.