Saturday, April 22, 2017

Hampden Hotel, Murchison

This 19th century hotel also dates from the gold mining era. Today it has been thrust back into more prosperous times by the closure of the coastal highway through Kaikoura. Murchison has been changed from a quiet rural backwater, into one of the larger towns on the new inland route to Christchurch. We decided the old hotel would be a good lunch stop and enjoyed an excellent pub-style lunch on their sunny patio.
Visit date: 22 April 2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Walter Peak Station, Queenstown

Although the present homestead at Walter Peak was rebuilt in 1977 following an extensive fire, it was rebuilt with a very similar exterior to the original homestead built in 1902. We took the historic steamship TSS Earnslaw across the lake for a superb buffet lunch. Everything about the excursion was extremely well done - from the viewing platform inside the Earnslaw to observe the steam engine at work, to the farm tour and amazing lunch which is a real showcase of New Zealand produce.
Visit date: 19 April 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

Theatre Royal Hotel, Kumara

As a total contrast to Blackball, we stopped in Kumara for lunch at the totally refurbished Theatre Royal Hotel. The hotel was built in 1876 during the Kumara gold rush, and a thirty metre theatre was added for travelling shows.
When the current owners purchased the hotel in 2010, it was totally derelict. But two years later they had completed a complete refit and the hotel looks as good as new. It was definitely a great choice for an excellent lunch and a feel of stepping back to the days when this hotel was sparkling new.
Visit date: 10 April 2017

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Formerly the Blackball Hilton Hotel, Blackball

This historic hotel built in 1897, is more than the usual old NZ hotel. The name reflects their run in with the Hilton brand in 1992. The accommodation is typical - lots of bedrooms and two bathrooms. But as we had the adjacent bathroom to ourselves, it was no problem.
Apart from the architecture, the real drawcard of the hotel is their excellent chef. The meals were fantastic - totally unexpected in such a small, out of the way town. The advice we received for little known local places to visit, was another bonus.
Visit date: 9 April 2017

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Tophouse Hotel, St Arnaud

The hotel is a cob style building constructed in 1888.  This is the most unusual style of early architecture we have encountered in New Zealand. The feel is genuinely old and full of history, even down to the bullet holes made in 1894 by the would-be lover of the governess when he shot the man she preferred and the telegraph operator.
We found the hotel fascinating, but were glad we had taken one of their modern and very comfortable cottages for the night.
Visit date: 8 April 2017