The three bicycles are sadly locked up as we drive away from the art deco town of Ranfurly in our hire car. Due to time and for one night only we sadly swap two wheels for four to explore parts of the Otago Rail Trail.
With the sun high in the sky we weave our way towards the tiny historic gold mining town of St Bathans. It is tucked away in the depths of the Maniototo plain as if it likes to hide from the present day.
Its few remaining historic buildings are great for capturing the belief that gold could still be found in the area. We peek in and around the creaking rooms and cloudy windows where dust has gathered and cobwebs have formed before strolling down the empty road to the old mined lake.
The man-made Blue lake is worth admiring with its white washed cliffs. If it had been a hot day I would certainly be splashing about in its mineral rich depths – What a beautiful sight!
Back in the car and on state highway 85. It twists its way towards Naseby – another historic gold mining town. As we drive into the tiny town the afternoon light glistens through the towering trees upon the historic buildings making their unique character twinkle with pride. The main street feels as if time stopped long ago and life is still being lived as it was a 100 years ago.
We find our accommodation very easily. What was once a local church has been beautifully converted into a bed and breakfast, but we have no time to relax. We have a pre arranged date for the evening.
We wrap up warm and head off in search of the local ice rink to try the sport of curling. The friendly locals are already energetically sliding the colourful stones over the ice. The clinking of stones is constant and the murmur of chatter creates a busy scene.
Our curling games are fun, yet challenging. We all compete to battle it out against each other. We leave the chill of the ice rink with smiles on our faces and head in search of dinner. We find a fabulous place under the sparkling night sky called The Falconer, with its outdoor fire, locally sourced food and delicious wines it is perfect!
Finally we snuggle up warm for our night in the old Church. I am woken from my sleep by an angry storm. The church’s wooden structure creaks and groans with the buffeting wind and heavy rain. I have visions that the church and I will be whisked up into a wild tornado just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and I keep my eyes wide open for hours!
It is early morning, the gold mining towns of St Bathans and Naseby continue to snooze. Our four-wheeled vehicle is up early and moving. It returns us back to present day, to the town of Ranfurly and happily reuniting us each with our beloved two wheels so we can begin day three of the Otago Rail trail!