Long-standing friends invited over us to their holiday cottage in St. Arnaud for the week. They always make us feel at home and part of the family…

“What? You’re in a completely new country, you’re still trying to make friends never mind having long-standing family friends!”, that’s what you’re thinking… right? However, that’s what it genuinely felt like when we stayed in David and Pru Clarke’s bach at St. Arnaud, just on the shores of Lake Rotoiti.

If I’m completely honest, I chose it because it seemed a little cheaper than other bachs, it was near a lake, and it had a woodburning stove. We didn’t know what to expect, but in many aspects this place was a little gem!

The bach is nestled on the shores of Lake Rotoiti, which has crystal clear waters and is skirted by lush beech forests. The St. Arnaud ranges and Mt. Robert dominating the landscape wherever you cast your eyes. There are a network of tracks through the beech forests, which are rich in honeydew – a food source for kākāriki (parakeet), kākā (forest parrot), tūī and korimako (bellbird). Even the elusive kiwi can be found here. In short, this is paradise – heaven on earth.

The bach itself was pretty much what it said on the tin, “a cosy cottage” as advertised on the book-a-bach website. I’m not great with history, but this place must have been pretty old (built in the 1930s to 1950s?), and fortunately nothing seemed to have changed from when it was first built. The photos below speak for themselves, but the wooden floors, traditional country kitchen, and dark wood panelling made you feel like you were stepping back in time to when prior generations of the Clarke family came here on summer retreats. There was a bach log book, which told of fun- and adventure-filled family holidays. Books, jigsaws (see Liz diligently working on one), and games were all freely available to peruse through, play with, and enjoy. Our most favourite item in the bach was the log burning stove. The Spaniel worshipped it, we revered it. It made the cold winter nights cosy and warm.

If I’m being honest, I did have my first bout of homesickness here, when I realised I couldn’t share the magic of this place with family. That felt a little sad, so this post is for all family and friends – check out the pics, perhaps you can come and stay here with us when you pop over? I am sure Dave and Pru would make you feel VERY welcome…

Thanks Dave and Pru

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