Boutique Barnstay – Staveley, South Island, NZ

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

We are excited ....check out this link to see the 50 best things to do in the South Island! We are there at no 31!

The school holidays are in full swing with some beautiful days up Mt Hutt interspersed with stormy days and snowfalls.

White foothills blanket

Thursday, July 13, 2017
The first big storm of winter has been moving north through NZ this week causing havoc! Always good for a few photos though.

These ewes on the farm were well sheltered and happy, and Charles, Pippa and I got out for some fun on the cross country skis and to pick up the mail.

Into the ski season

Friday, July 07, 2017

The ski season at Mt Hutt is now in full fling! The mountain is looking beautiful with a good snow cover and the temperatures have dropped nicely with clear frosty days. 

Rata Escape accommodation is full of happy skiers.....still a few gaps though if you are looking for a cosy and inviting place to rest up!!

Winter Magic

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

A good snowfall has arrived on the Canterbury mountains as if on cue for the opening of Mt Hutt Skifield which is scheduled for Friday 9th June. Great timing!
With some friends, Judith and I took a walk up Mount Alford on Tuesday from where we had a grandstand view of the ski mountain as seen in this photo. 

The frosted snow sparkled underfoot with the glistening white stretching inland as far as the eye could see icing sugar sprinkled over the tops. 
And ... we had a couple of big birthdays to celebrate in style on the summit!! 

Winter on its way!

Sunday, April 09, 2017
The year is definitely heading towards winter! 
We have had an abundant autumn with beautiful toadstools and bucketloads of edible mushrooms from the paddocks. Then after the storm of last week the clouds cleared to reveal the first snow of the year covering the slopes of Mt Hutt and the other foothills.
Skiing does not seem too far off!
Rata Escape makes a great base for your winter getaway and you can be on the slopes skiing within an hour of leaving home.

Staveley Wedding

Sunday, March 26, 2017
My daughter Anna's wedding to Mitch was planned to be held in the garden at Rata Escape which would have been beautiful in any weather other than the particular weather we had on their chosen weekend in March!

However Staveley village is a wonderful venue for a wedding with the lovely church and the adjacent Staveley Hall. Friday was spent decorating both and a lot of fun was had as family and friends pitched in!
The wedding was a very happy affair as the hundred plus guests squeezed in together out of the rain .... and as they say, the photos are always better on a dull day!! 
The reception carried on into the wee small hours.....

Cheesemaking workshop at Rata

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

We have recently enjoyed the company of the Mauter family who signed up for various activities from Rata including a cheesemaking workshop instructed by Jude. Using fresh milk from the mornings milking.... these cheese connoiseurs were very keen to get started! 

Below are some photos from a fun morning creating and sampling feta and haloumi, with the alternative entertainment of flax weaving on the side during the "brewing" stages. We shared a tasty lunch made from all local ingredients including the cheese. Cheers!!

Te Araroa Trail

Monday, February 06, 2017
 Te Araroa ....translated as The Long Pathway snakes its way through the length of New Zealand from Cape Reinga to Bluff in the south or vice versa. 3000km long! It was developed in its entirety just a few years ago and is becoming increasingly popular with New Zealanders and overseas trampers. 
The trail passes through our backcountry in the Hakatere Conservation Area and I happily joined my son Robbie for his final 3 days of his month walking from the top of the South Island to home - 550km. We walked from the Rakaia River, over Clent Saddle to the Ashburton Gorge and spent the nights at Comyns Hut with other TA walkers and the beautiful setting of Double Hut. Lots of basic fare on the menu and a real cameraderie amongst fellow long distance walkers!

Cooking up a storm!

Saturday, November 05, 2016

On Thursday it was time to ensure that our culinary plans would fit the bill for our future guests who wish to take up our catered option. So a creative session ensued with our foodie-guru friend Leigh, as we whisked, chopped, and BBQed, chatted and laughed the afternoon away.


All the while we were timing and taking notes so that we can leave specific cooking instructions to go with the fresh and local ingredients which we supply for a sumptuous, but quick and simple, at-home dinner. Lucky Charles and Baden who joined us for the evening to critique our efforts. 

Good health or Slainte mhaith (as we say in Scotland!!) 

Labour weekend - first guests

Saturday, October 22, 2016

What a beautiful, blue sky day for our first guests to arrive this Labour Weekend. Rata Escape is officially open for business!

The last few weeks have seen Jude and I busily gathering, creating and recycling furnishings for the the Lodge....... and it has been a lot of fun! A deadline is a great thing for getting the creative juices flowing, and Baden and Charles have been willingly on hand too .... thanks guys!

I will include a few pics to tempt any folk who are in need of some R & R in an uplifting setting, close to the mountains and native bush, and surrounded by very green, lush farmland thanks to the generous spring.


While our guests were hopefully enjoying all of the above, down on the farm it was a lovely day to be tailing lambs!