Art Deco buff here’s a compulsory stop for a photo moment or heritage is your thing another reason to check out Ranfurly. Tiny places with big stories.
A pit stop leads into several hours exploring the byways of Ranfurly from adorable huskies to wondering what it was like riding over the alpine tussocks with nothing but surveyors tools to map the area. For visitors on the Otago cycling trail what a wonderful excuse to stretch the legs and stop a while.
- 110km from Dunedin via iconic Pig Route (summer drive only)
- 13km, 11 minutes to Naseby
Who turned up and named Ranfurly?
Maori travelled through the red tussock naming the area Maniototo ‘plains of blood’ on their search for pounamu (jade, NZ greenstone). The current name recognises the Fifth Earl of Ranfurly, Governor of New Zealand (1897–1904). The name changed from Eweburn, when the governor turned up in 1898 on the newly opened rail route. The railway line closed in 1990.
- John Turnbull Thomson, Chief Surveyor of Otago Province. His monument is opposite the Centennial Milk Bar. What a guy, surveyed the inland Otago on horseback, accurate and detailed mapping using triangulation survey, using true bearings. A man with eight daughters and a translator of Malay manuscripts. The fame claim is ‘He rode by on his horse with a bag of flour and a
- Sporting figures, it must be all that fresh air and invigorating exercise
- Pandemics are not new. Under the sweeping views of mountains is Waipiata where people with tuberculosis (consumptives) went to recover. The average stay was half a year with some spending years breathing in the brisk ozone layers of Central Otago. An extraordinary collection of early twentieth century hospital buildings is a physical reminder of a deadly disease that killed one in four inhabitants before it was managed by modern medicine.
Where to take the best selfie
- Visitor Information Centre and sit on old-fashioned rail carriage seats to watch an audio-visual presentation and selfie the moment
- Pick a gorgeous Art Deco building with either yourself in frame or someone special. Got a fedora hat and cane is even better.
- Outside Centinnel bar with a ice-cream in hand
- Smart, energetic huskies at Real Dog Company
What to see, highligts
- Check out a very pretty visitor information site. This old railway station has been restored into a gorgeous i-Site building with a lovely garden complete with tables and seats for a picnic alongside the beautiful roses.”
- Nasby the winter sport of curling is about 15 minutes away.
- Real Dog Company, this is a compulsory stop for kids who love dogs. Check out the largest kennel of Alaskan Malamutes in the Southern Hemisphere including only the 3 Canadian Eskimo Dogs in New Zealand, Siberian Husky’s & one Kelpie/ Collie cross that we breed, show & most importantly work in harness. There is a gift shop, perfect for all dog lovers
- Heritage Experiences Maniototo District
- 710 (2018 census)
What keeps the place ticking over
- Agricultural service town and the occasional visitor popping in to admire Art Deco buildings
Best time to go
- Glorious winter landscape, pop on merino wool, layers and enjoy the hoar frost.
- Spring to Autumn hot dry summer days with a blaze of colour in autumn
TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION
- Maniototo Heritage brochure
- Thomson, John Turnbull – Dictionary of New Zealand Biography – Te Ara. Translations from the Hakayit Abdulla (bin Abdulkadar), mūnshi (1874), the autobiography of ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Abd al-Kādir, his former teacher of the Malay language, which he translated from the Malay 20 years after he had departed from the East. Definitely not a stuffy Victorian gentleman and probably a supporter of the education of women. All those girls he would not have a chance to be the lord of the manor.
- John Turnbull Thomson’s descendant dusts off 160-year-old art for first public showing
The journey is worth it.