Preparing for an Off the Beaten Track Getaway

Recently I embarked on another of my annual Roadie’s, where I travel around our gorgeous backyard and meet some of our favourite OTBT landowners accompanied by my son Harley.   This is a fantastic opportunity for me, not only to enjoy stepping into the shoes of my customers and meeting some of our amazing landowners, but also to spend some one-on-one time with my son.

This year we started from Christchurch and visited properties around Canterbury, the top of the South Island, Manawatu and Wanganui before returning home to Cambridge.

We visited a number of places, some were not far off a main road, but felt miles away in terms of peacefulness and seclusion.  Others were the very definition of getting Off the Beaten Track; these properties involved driving on windy gravel roads, sometimes for up to half an hour before reaching the little oasis’s that greeted us.

As we were getting OTBT for a week staying and visiting multiple properties, I took some time to plan.  Harley, even at 25 is a relatively fussy eater, so thought had to go into that.  We also had to map our trip to make the best use of time and found there were certainly other considerations to take into account when enjoying and experiencing an OTBT get away, some of which I’ve detailed below:

  1. Food.  Always a biggy, and the last thing you want to find is you are well and truly OTBT, no shops for miles let alone a takeaways, and you haven’t got anything to have for dinner. First thing I did, was look at the listing of where we were staying carefully, do they have a full kitchen, or just basics?…think purchasing a microwave dinner and arriving to no microwave! It was then important to determine if you would be passing a local supermarket or equivalent to pick up supplies.  We tended to stock up on what we liked to eat or snack on when we were in a main centre and picked up dinner provisions as we required them.  I did get caught out one night however after a particularly long day of travel, the last bit very OTBT, so it was English muffins and jam for dinner that night 😊
  • Petrol.  Basically a repeat of the above. We were often in the middle of nowhere without service, so made sure we had planned the nearest petrol station and took note of this before service was lost. We only had to fill up twice, however this was stretched out to 20kms left in the tank on the second occasion, a little to close for comfort for me.
  • Terrain. This wasn’t our first Roadie, so we decided to take Harleys ute this time, travelling across Cook Strait on the ferry.  In previous years we had flown to the South Island and hired a car, but my suggestion would be to always hire a 4WD vehicle of any description or size to tackle the odd gnarly road or steep driveway.  This proved to be the case for us this trip and were glad of his ute when we were accessing some of the most OTBT properties.
  • Comforts.  More a me thing than Harley, but where has a hair dryer? I didn’t pack mine from home purposely, but in researching the listings, determined who did and who didn’t and planned accordingly.  Always a good idea to pack a bottle of bodywash as some supply this and some don’t, this way you are covered regardless.
  • Arrival time.  I always communicated with the landowner the day or two before on when we expected to arrive.  This had huge benefits as all had either a fire lit or heating turned on, so was a cosy arrival.  We travelled over 5000 kilometres on our Roadie, and this often meant we arrived a little later in the afternoon, so was always a welcome surprise to find the place ready for us.
  • Activities.  Plan ahead and advise.  Most of our landowners offer additional activities on their properties.  These range from horse-riding, white-water rafting, fishing, farm tours etc.  In order to make the most of your visit, ensure these are booked when you book your stay making is easy for everyone to plan ahead.
  • Live the full OTBT experience.  We were often without service or wifi, although many of our listings do provide wifi.  For me, it was actually a luxury to not have phone service, not sure about Harley….., but I certainly enjoyed being ‘uncontactable’ for a while.  Prepare for this if your OTBT stay is relatively remote.  Take a good book, pack of cards or as we did with Harley downloading a couple of Netflix movies onto my Ipad and his laptop when we did have wifi, which was great.

I’m obviously very biased and truly believe the best holidays are spent OTBT, but by the very nature of the OTBT adventure, you are getting into rural heartland New Zealand, with often none of the thing’s townies take for granted around. My best advice would be to take a little time to plan ahead, fill up the car, pick up your favourite foods on the way there and enjoy the adventure.  Part of the experience is getting there, so enjoy he ride.

Author: Michele Connell