• Stafford Literary Institute stands watch over the Stafford Loop Road, now in its 150th year

From Junction to Jackson

September 8th, 2020|Tags: , , , , |

Kumara Junction, 25 kilometres south of Greymouth, marks the beginning of the Glacier Highway. We swing west but don’t get far before we pull into Needful Things, a quirky treasure trove of retro, its entrance marked by a blue Morris Minor. Inside, the store is brimming a cornucopia of antiques, books, clothing and curios. With [...]

  • The catch!

Where Gumboots are a Man’s Best Friend

July 5th, 2020|Tags: , , , |

I have been to some wondrous places in my years on this planet – safari in South Africa, the best hotel on the Grand Canal in Venice, camping in the Aussie outback dining on camel, croc’ and emu, a month last year tearing around Europe, Tangiers, Patagonia and most nooks and crannies of this great [...]

  • The former Mananui sawmill is full of rusty relics

West Coast Wilderness Trail – Fossicking in the Wilderness

March 7th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , |

I became officially designated a fool in a town called Ross. You see a few days earlier I had travelled up the coast with a riding mate on our way to the official opening of the Paparoa Track. Given the long journey from the Deep South, we decided to break up the road trip and [...]

  • The water wheel generates electricity for most of the Smiths’ needs

In Miners’ Footsteps

November 8th, 2019|Tags: , , , , , |

“These are our newest babies,” Robyn Smith gestures to two little goats and a Highland cow with her calf at foot. “We’re feeding her stock-food pellets to try and get her used to us,” she explained, unfortunately thwarted in this plan by the sudden arrival of a Belted Galloway heifer who knows only too well [...]

  • Representing Australia (white masks) and Kiwis (dark masks)

Hokitika Wildfoods Festival

May 11th, 2019|Tags: , , , , , |

There was literally not a cloud in the clear blue sky and nothing to indicate that the Coast would be hit by a devastating weather bomb a few short weeks later. “The West Coast’s full,” we were told; as well as the wildfoods festival, the Wanaka A&P show was on, one of the very few [...]

  • Narrow entrance to Constant Bay

Tales of Long Ago and a Hidden Valley on the West Coast

September 10th, 2018|Tags: , , , |

Plenty of people have drowned here.” Mickey Ryan of Outwest Tours was showing us Constant Bay, a small rocky bay where a huge sea crashes on the rocks beyond its extremely narrow entrance. Constant Bay, west of Charleston near Westport, is named after the first ship to enter its small confines. Charleston, where gold was [...]

Ultimate Compatibility Test

March 6th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

On our way down the West Coast, we stopped off at Franz Josef Glacier Guides’ base in Franz Josef in the hope the weather would allow us to fly up onto the glacier by chopper. The impressive complex was alive with hearty-looking guides in red shirts and shorts with climbing ropes, pitons and two-way radios [...]

First Rental Roadie

December 18th, 2016|Tags: , , , , , , , |

... ...When I was a child, I would hide on the last day of the holidays, trying to prolong the summer magic and avoid the long car trip back to Dunedin. My long-suffering parents would be standing on the lawn in Arrowtown with the little crib all locked up [...]

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