Sometimes things are not quite as advertised. That was the case with Ranfurly. The good thing was that we had decided to spend an extra night in Dunedin and Wanaka instead of two nights in Ranfurly.

It was advertised as a rural art deco town, but we didn’t see much there. It could have been advertised as a rural art deco ghost town. In fact, I think Oamaru had more art deco buildings. In a way it’s a  bit sad because the town was built around a railroad junction. In the i-site, we learned that the last passenger train passed through in 1989. The small town of about 900 is trying to re-make itself as a destination along the Otago rail trail.  The last weekend of February is also its annual Art Deco Festival. Maybe it would be a more interesting time then.

As we strolled through town we came upon a large warehouse full of rental bikes, surrounded by vans ready to bring people and their bikes back to town. As I recall visitors had two or three options to stay in Ranfurly.

The drive itself was interesting. The hills leaving Dunedin turned into high plains for sheep farming, then dairy, then venison. All of a sudden rocks started to creep up into the fields and then took over the landscape. Ravines appeared and then we’d be back up on the plains.

The rail trail goes from Clyde to Middlemarch, and we did see more cyclists than I expected along the way. In one small village, which was really just a pub and a few houses, we saw two cyclists taking the back path from the pub up to the trail.

We had considered taking a day to ride the trail, but the accommodation was fairly expensive and I got tired of doing research on the best place to stay. It won’t be our next trip to New Zealand, because that will focus on the North Island, maybe the trip after.

Wanaka hasn’t really changed much since our last visit. We had a lovely lamb supper at the Monteiths Bar and Restaurant and took a stroll along the lake.

The day’s wind was still blowing and it felt like being in one of those handryers that dries with mach force. A couple were stopped on the beach taking photos of the mountain view and he asked us to take their pic. After NosyNeighbour had taken it (he longs for the camera!), she took ours (OMG, hair all over the place in the wind!). We chatted for a bit, the typical where are you from, how long are you here, etc.

It turns out she’s Welsh from Cardiff and he’s English. It was their first trip to New Zealand, and because they only had three weeks they were focusing on the South Island. Smart move on their part. They’ll be back for the North Island at some point. And they were also keen on Canada.

We’ll try a couple of different hikes tomorrow, maybe visit cinema Pardiso, and leave our tradition of Iron Mountain and Puzzling World for the morning that we head over to Queenstown.

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