November 19th, 2014 / posted by paularath
The post office in Clyde, NZ, where each resident still has a puka for their personal mail.

The post office in Clyde, NZ, where each resident still has a puka for their personal mail. Photos by Jerry Mayfield

We had a beautiful travel guide drive us from Dunedin to Wanaka. Her name is Tracey MacLaren and she lives in Arrowtown, near Queenstown. Her sister lives in Dunedin so the whole thing works well for her – and for us.

Tracey did what many NZ people do when they finish college: She went traveling and working abroad. Only instead of one year of travel, which is typical, she spent seven years traveling and working around the world before she came home to NZ – to work in the travel industry. She’s a great resource.

A typical Clyde home. The roses and peonies are amazing!

A typical Clyde home. The roses and peonies are amazing!

We made it a leisurely drive through small towns that feel as though they have transported you back to the ’30s or ’40s. Quite a bit of art deco, lovely rose and peony gardens and friendly, warm people.

We have talked to many people who don’t even lock their doors – car or house doors – because NZ is still such a safe place to live.

The Dunstan Hotel, where Tracy and her friends stayed during a friend's wedding in Clyde.

The Dunstan Hotel, where Tracy and her friends stayed during a friend’s wedding in Clyde.

We stopped for lunch in Alexandra and the food was fabulous and the weather was nice enough for us to eat at a picnic table outdoors. Later, Tracey took us for ice cream. The favored ice cream in NZ is by a company called Tip Top and the flavor is Hokey-Pokey. It’s a rich vanilla with bits of honey throughout. Delicious!

Tracey then took us to our B & B, Maple Lodge. It is a few miles outside of the town of Wanaka in a lovely setting with horses next door and a lavender farm across the street. So quiet and quaint!

The owners, Paul and Berny (Bernadette) Raymont, could not be more gracious and welcoming. It’s quiet and restful and lovely. There’s even a Scrabble set and lending library.

Everyone in Wanaka is talking about the weather, however. It is still snowing and it’s late spring! The mountains around us are snow-capped, which is highly unusual but awfully pretty.

– Paula Rath

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