Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

17 July 2010

Naseby, Central Otago

Gold gave birth to Naseby in 1863; a big rush, a fast-expanding population, the usual belief that gold fields would last for ever spawning substantial buildings forming a town that’s lasted to this day and whose origins are jealously preserved. The charming County Offices (now a museum) are testament to a colonial Victorian pomposity typical of small town New Zealand in 1878, and the earnestness of worthy shopkeepers is characterized in these two shops of much the same vintage whose origins are re-stated with a lick of paint from time to time.

Naseby lies near the Otago Rail Trail which is now a cycle track. Some cycling tourists – who alternate between easy cycling and riding by coach – find accommodation at Naseby.

Cyclists are fine on the rail trail but they are not only highly vulnerable on roads that were never designed for them but are, paradoxically, quite threatening when some of them ride in groups kitted out in space gear that looks as expensive as anything you might find on the ski slopes of St Moritz. This little lot, at the end of a pedaling day, pushed in front of me as if they owned the place while I had my tripod set up to photograph the old Royal Hotel, no permission, no ‘excuse us’, no apology. I swore at them (but not too loudly as there were more of them than of me).


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By Don Donovan