I always love the opportunity to get out and meet our landowners when possible. Following our attendance at the NZMCA Motorhome, Caravan & Leisure Show in Christchurch in July, my son Harley and I took the opportunity to explore the upper South Island that would see us traversing from coast to coast and finishing up in the Nelson/Tasman region.
Our last Landowner ‘Roadie’ occurred in 2019, where we based ourselves in the Canterbury region, but this year we were excited to explore a little more of New Zealand and enjoy our stunning scenery as we visited as many OTBT properties and met as many landowners as possible.
Our first night was a magical stay in a little cottage atop a high point that was 2kms deep into a working sheep farm. With views to Christchurch and beyond and literally no one for miles, Hill House on the Grange was a perfect example of really getting Off the Beaten Track.
Reluctantly we left this piece of paradise and spent an amazing day driving to Greymouth. I have travelled extensively, and would have to say that the Arthur’s Pass Road would rival any of the stunning drives worldwide and is a spectacular part of New Zealand.
We arrived in Greymouth, tired but exhilarated after our beautiful drive and was looking forward to our next stay at Beachfront Bliss at Nine Mile Creek, just outside of the town. It didn’t disappoint, tucked amongst bush, yet situated just above a private beach, Jan our host was welcoming and informative and sent us on our way the next day with lots of tips for places to stop and visit as well as photo opportunities.
Day 3 saw us set out for Kumara, where we called into an amazing property called the Farmhouse located in Bluespur. So many accommodation options at this place, B&B, Motorhome parking and cottage options and a perfect spot for animal lovers as they have everything from Ziggy Stardust the pig to the resident peacocks.
We spent the night at Cosy Kumara Villa, a lovingly restored villa located on the edge of Kumara village. It was lovely to arrive to a welcoming farm fire and settle in for the evening as was fully self catered.
We continued to explore the country as we went, visiting Hokitika and further onto the stunning Hokitika Gorge, where the water was so pure and blue, it did not seem real.
Day 4 was another big drive through the Lewis Pass, another breath taking drive, to arrive in Kaikōura. Could not visit Kaikōura without going whale watching so took a spur of the moment, last minute deal from Kaikōura i-Site to take a small plane and go whale watching. Such a highlight to see 4 whales and a pod of 50 dolphins on a perfect Kaikōura day.
Day 5 brought a warning that bad weather was going to hit the West Coast and ultimately the rest of the upper South Island and we wanted to keep ahead of this. We spent a lovely day visiting 2 of our properties that were neighbours, offering very different experiences, located in the small beach side settlement of Hapuku.
The Factory was simply stunning. A beautifully refurbished milk factory, it offered premium accommodation with lots of extras. Located next door Unique Carriages offered multiple accommodation options, from 2 cottages, B&B option to a restored train carriage, all lovingly restored by the owners in an eclectic style. Both of these properties were a minutes’ walk to the beach and with the backdrop of snow-capped mountains, made me feel I could happily move there.
We hit the road for our last big drive, the 3 ½ hour drive to Brightwater, outside Nelson. This was a picturesque drive up the coast before taking the inland route. The cloud was starting to build and rain felt imminent and by the time we arrived in Brightwater it was raining steadily.
Another beautiful property awaited us there, the Charming Straw Cottage. Made with straw, this delightful cottage had everything you needed as a guest. We were greeted by a roaring log fire, home baking on the bench and a welcome message at the door. To top off the greeting, the landowners popped over to meet us and enjoy a glass of wine.
The storm that ultimately devastated Westport and parts of the Nelson/Tasman region arrived that night and we woke to flooding and heavy rain that did not ease. We managed to fit in one more visit to a prospective landowner in Upper Moutere, but subsequent visits that day and the next had to be cancelled. Roads were flooded and the public were warned to keep off the road if possible. A slightly disappointing end to a wonderful week, however we felt fortunate we escaped the worst of the weather.
While waiting for our plane home at Nelson airport, we felt so lucky to have had the chance to not only experience being an OTBT holidaymaker for a week, get to meet some of our landowners that were all so welcoming, but also get to experience parts of New Zealand we’d not seen and would not have seen had we not explored getting OTBT.
We truly live in the best little country in the world, and while I may seem a little bias, firmly believe that supporting local, supporting rural, and getting Off the Beaten Track is the most memorable way to holiday.
Until the next Roadie!