Berries and Playgrounds 

Just out of Christchurch not far from Kaiapoi is the Pataka berry farm. What a great place this is. We picked delicious raspberries and flavoursome tomatoes. Our grandson was with us, it was the first time he had seen raspberries on a vine, so it was a learning experience. He probably  hadn’t thought about how they grow! They just appear in the supermarket don’t they? What is more tasty than fresh raspberries and ice cream?  Picking raspberries is so labour intensive it’s no wonder the little punnets are costly. Picking your own is fun and has a fabulous end result- so my taste buds tell me!       The tomatoes were enjoyed on toast, in a salad and as a snack. When they are so fresh and yummy you don’t need anything with them!

The next stop travelling along SH1  was at Owen Stalker Park in Woodend. This is a lovely big park for a play or a picnic. Equipment includes a train to climb on which is a bit different, shady trees, lots of room to run or play with a ball. Pity about the name! Maybe just “Owen Park” rather than “Owen Stalker Park” would have meant the butterflies could have flown peacefully around rather than settling in my tummy!  Eyes on alert at all times! Do the stalkers frequent it often or is it exclusively for Owen?  Talking of butterflies it was great to see a young lad there with his net catching white butterflies. Just as we did as children.  

On the road again and we turned off SH1 towards Waikuku beach. The beach is just 3km off the main road. There is a big playground and park near the beach. It was great to see lots of families there chatting and enjoying the lovely autumn day. The children were having fun playing together. I always feel sad when we pass lovely playgrounds and there are no children there. 


The Fat Albert Smokehouse – Near Fairlie

Recently we stayed at “The Smokehouse” near Fairlie in the South Island. We found this lovely spot through “okay 2stay”, a website for self contained motorhomers  that we subscribe to – thanks to Sue and Tom for putting us onto this group. The Smokehouse is just my kind of place. The hosts, Alison and Keith, are really friendly, the vista is fabulous – there was snow on the hills when we were there late in March – and their little shop has delicious products. We stocked our fridge with smoked eel, salmon and cheese. Some fresh bread from the great Fairlie bakery – they do yummy pies too- and we were set for lunches for many days. 

Their website :

Motorhomers contact:

Fishing in the South Island

  The last two years we have spent a few days in March salmon fishing in the canals near Twizel. Last year we were in Christchurch, enjoying a walk in Kaiapoi, when we came upon a lad of about 12 pushing his bike. Why wasn’t he riding his bike? The answer was immediately obvious. In his right hand as well as holding the handle bar he held a trout through the gills. It was so big that it nearly reached the ground. Maybe a fisherman’s story, but it seemed that big in the excitement of the moment! He said he caught it on his second cast in the local river. He was rightly very proud and I hope his Mum, who he was heading home to see, was too. I certainly would have been. I was stunned and headed straight to the shop to buy a fishing licence. If he could do it so could I. Yeah right! Actually it wasn’t that easy. The main thing I caught was the tree on the other side of the river! 
We moved on to Twizel. Fishing in the canals is very popular. Motorhomers who belong to the NZMCA are able to stay by the canal near the High Country Salmon Farm, along with many other fabulous spots. You see all the motorhomes lined up as you travel from Omarama to Twizel, a great sight. I’m sure many travellers as they drive past and see all the vans think “I hope that is me one day, roll on retirement .” 
So there we were, trying to catch a salmon, along with many others! Dawn until dusk. Patience is one of my names! It was not to be. We tried that spot along with others on nearby canals but only saw one caught each day we were there, but they were beauties and would have fed us for many days. When it was time for us to move on we visited the salmon farm shop and bought some! Delicious! After watching the salmon feeding twice a day from across the canal the need to eat one was high! When they are fed they jump and get really excited. Sometimes they break out of their pens- so we are told- and escape so the chance of catching one increases. Would love to be there then! Maybe next year!

A Freezer full of Berries

raspberry cottage 2

We just spent a night at one of the South Island’s best kept secrets, Raspberry Cottage. We found it through the website OK 2 Stay, which we’re now members of. It’s not a cottage at all, really it’s a berry farm in rural Waimate, where motorhomers who belong to OK 2 Stay are able to spend the night in their motorhome.


The hosts, Barry and Margaret, are very friendly. We had never seen so many berries! Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are in season, and they sell the berries at the local farmer’s markets. We went to the one in Caroline Bay (Timaru) and met Barry again- not that we had much time to chat- his berries are obviously well known, so his stall was really busy! They are sooooo delicious!


After our night at Raspberry Cottage we enjoyed raspberries on our porridge for breakfast. A couple of days later when we were parked up in Pleasant Point, near Timaru with power in our motor home, we made a berry smoothie with our smoothie maker.

raspberry cottage 1

Cost to stay: Nothing, you just need to be a member of OK 2 Stay

Where: Waimate, between Oamaru and Timaru, South Island, New Zealand

Must do: Try the berries

Tip for travellers: Buy the sachets of porridge, add boiling water, no need to cook- although the packet says put in the microwave we’ve found that it’s absolutely fine as is. Just add fruit- perfect meal for travellers!