Travelling New Zealand, on a roadie in the north of the South… what a blessed region. It starts at the top with stunning beaches, golden sand, and wine country. And, as you wind your way not at all far south, and pretty much bang smack halfway between the mainland’s west and east coasts, within the shortest time you’re in alpine country. You’re met by breathtaking lakes gouged out by glaciers in the ice ages, stunning views, and that unmistakably fresh feeling in the air.
Adventuring in that alpine air
Hello St Arnaud, and Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa. (Here’s a fact: St Arnaud was previously called Rotoiti. But it’s name was changed last century to avoid confusion with Lake Rotoiti in Rotorua. Apparently mail was ending up in the wrong spot. Clearly those were the days before obligatory post codes.)
This is one delightful alpine village with beautiful lakes, forests and craggy snow capped mountains, even mountain top skiing. It’s famously the gateway to the Nelson Lakes National Park, and its extraordinary scenery surrounds with a dramatic calm.
As a summer or winter base, it’s got plenty on offer for hikers, trampers, birdwatchers, nature lovers, swimmers, kayakers, skiers, mountain bikers, fisher people and water sports… It’s an ideal spot if you’re after a bit of outdoors adventure, or if you’re a serenity seeker looking for some amazing outdoors to admire. And it’s somewhere easily accessible from other nearby centres. Any free spirit can show up by car, by bus, by bike, or even on foot.
Daytime eats at New Zealand food treasures
No matter why you find yourself there, there’s no doubting it, all that fresh air, it sure makes you hungry. So you’re on the lookout for daytime eats.
Right throughout New Zealand, in wee spots tucked away here and there, there are some spectacular people who work super hard to deliver up classic New Zealand food experiences. Real New Zealand food treasures, we think. And the best kind to find when you pull up on your roadie, first rate authentic examples of delicious homemade fresh food.
So, if you’re after a good coffee, toast with today’s jam, home-made muesli, beans and bacon, fresh biscuits, homemade fudge, a slab of cake, a mighty good sandwich, perhaps a bit of soup…. brunchtime, lunchtime, anytime. There’s a cafe in St Arnaud that fits the bill. Smiley faces all round.
Eat in. Sit at the big wooden slab tables, check out the rocks and toi toi, and look up ito those mountains. Or, if the weather’s on your side, collect some things and head down the road. Just a hop skip and jump, rustle up another classic kiwi food experience, a picnic lakeside.
Love classic kiwi food moments
There’s a lot to be said for these chance, but oh so genuinely local and delicious, classic kiwi food moments. The tucked away wee ones that just present themselves when you’re travelling out and about somewhere new. Like the most amazing five course dinner, they too make for some very special New Zealand food memories. And, on the road, that’s what we all love.
And for more…
For more on The FoodPath NZ’s handpicked eateries and artisans, for our collection of spot on New Zealand food moments, download our North Island Food Travel Guide here (soon to cover throughout New Zealand, including St Arnaud - hooray!).