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The Star: May 18, 2017

34 Thursday

34 Thursday May 18 2017 Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi The Star DISCOVER NORTH CANTERBURY Only just up the road, North Canterbury has plenty to offer. We explore what’s available in this diverse area. RANGIORA SHOWCASE JEWELLERS North Canterbury owned and operated, Rangiora Showcase Jewellers pride themselves on their high level of customer service. Whether its for watch and jewellery repairs, or jewellery valuations, the friendly staff are there to help. With diamond rings, wedding rings and dress rings, as well as high-end brands such as Karen Walker, Pandora, Kagi and Coeur De Lion, there’s bound to be something to catch your eye. 103 High Street, Rangiora • 03 313 7510 PARIS FOR THE WEEKEND For their fi rst date, he took her to Paris for the weekend... and now this delightful play on words brings us a unique café to North Canterbury. In the quaint, original Heritage Railway building in Kaiapoi, sip hot drinks from dainty china with a friend, a group, or by yourself. Soak up the Parisian decor, complete with exquisite chandeliers. Offering brunches, high teas, sharing platters and desserts, the choice is yours. Open 7 days, there is no excuse not to go to Paris for the weekend. 57 Charles Street, Kaiapoi • 03 260 011 www.parisfortheweekend.co.nz BAX & BERG Bax & Berg was born through the passion of two local Mums, who wanted to bring an edgy, contemporary boutique to Amberley. The result is a warm, inviting environment for both women and men to feel comfortable and relaxed while shopping and leave feeling amazing. Garments have been carefully selected by the owners who have sourced the best labels from New Zealand, Australia and Europe. 2 Pound Street, Amberley • 03 314 7251 www.baxandberg.co.nz EMMA’S AT OXFORD Following a grand store expansion, Emma’s now stocks its largest ever range of tempting gifts, books and clothing. Wardrobe essentials include polos and pants from Untouched World. This season’s colour of Sea Green (pictured) comes in two different styles, both 100% merino. Discover a large range of winter hats, gloves and scarves, too. 53 Main Street, Oxford • 03 312 3432 www.emmasatoxford.com ROUTE 72 CAFE, BAR AND EMPORIUM Enjoy a day out in the country stopping off at Route 72 to enjoy a beautiful morning tea, lunch, or afternoon snack. While you are there, treat yourself or buy a gift from their treasure trove – Aladdin’s Cave. Dine inside or out, your choice. Upstairs offers an amazing view and is ideal for that special occasion for two or a group of friends. Fully licensed, with Friday night dining from 5.30pm, Route 72 has an offering to satisfy every taste bud. 1697 Cust Road, Cust • 03 312 5595 www.route72.co.nz MARMALADE CLOTHING AND CURIOSITIES Let Marmalade Clothing keep you warm this winter with its selection of long-sleeve dresses, knitwear, merino accessories, bamboo socks, and seasonal coats. Specialising in natural fi bres, fair trade and NZ made men’s and women’s clothing (ladies sizes 8-20), this boutique also boasts an array of jewellery, accessories and trinkets for all your gifting needs. Don’t miss the annual Queen’s Birthday weekend sale. 49A Main Street, Oxford • 03 312 3382 (Closed Mondays) www.marmaladeclothing.co.nz CRAZE FASHION This delightful fashion store houses a mixture of playful, pretty and urban high-end clothing, shoes, and jewellery from leading designers. Pieces are stocked to suit all moods and occasions – from casual weekends to more formal events. To complement different types and ages of women, who all have a niche for fashion, owner Sherie’s vision is to deliver quality, affordable labels with plenty of personality. Labels from all over the world ensure Craze is always up with the very latest in fashion trends. 172A Williams Street, Kaiapoi • 03 327 2157 www.crazefashion.co.nz

The Star 35 Travel Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Thursday May 18 2017 ON TRACK: Check out the sights on a Forgotten World Adventure – a King Country rail route utilising converted golf carts. Dress warm for the tunnels though. Forgotten world unforgettable • By Mike Yardley I RECENTLY ventured to the eye-catching King Country to sample the much-buzzed about offerings of Forgotten World Adventures. Based in Taumarunui, this incredibly enterprising tourism venture boasts a platter of soft adventure excursions, prising open the stories, legends and unspoilt scenery of the hinterland. The pioneering founder of Forgotten World Adventures, Ian Balme, was a Waikato farmer who dared to dream big, turning a mothballed rusting eyesore into a visionary business. In 2012, he secured a 30-year lease from KiwiRail to operate semi-guided tours along the 142km decommissioned line between Okahukura and Stratford, studded with 24 tunnels and 92 bridges. I joined the 5 Tunnel RailCart Tour, a four-hour return romp from Taumarunui. I was struck by the mounds of pumice and mud that had been painstakingly dug off the tracks, after ploughing down hillsides in the April rainstorms. Our guide remarked that the prohibitive costs of constant track maintenance underpinned Kiwi- Rail’s decision to pull the plug on the line’s operation in 2010. The safety briefing included a beginner’s guide on how to “drive” the railcarts – converted golf carts, petrol-powered and limited to a top speed of 22km/h. The commercial glory of the Forgotten World region may have long faded but the wrap-around COMFORTABLE: Stay overnight at the Forgotten World Motel. scenery is deliriously good. Animals vastly outnumber people in these parts, as we tootled by goats, deer, alpacas and happy herds of cows on elevated pastures, while flocks of sheep were crowd-wrangled by sheepdogs. But the undeniable highlight of riding these storied rails are the tunnels, including the 1500m tunnel. Boring through these tunnels and admiring their damp, jet black walls, illuminated by the headlights on our carts was absolutely thrilling. Wrap up warm – they can be bone-chillingly cold. Clattering along the tracks in our carts, curling through valleys and creased hills, the countryside is sprinkled with clutches of ramshackle houses and dilapidated farm buildings. They are vestiges of the boom times, when primary industries like timber-milling and coalmining thrived. It’s sobering to reflect on the dramatic population changes in some of these settlements. We stopped for scrumptious home-made snacks in the sleepy village of Matiere. When the line opened 80 years ago, it was home to 750 residents. Now, there’s only a couple of dozen locals and housing is dirt cheap. A rating valuation of $15,000 is not uncommon. Information posts along the route, complete with historical photographs, illustrate how bustling many of these lineside communities used to be. Rail travel has always exuded romanticism. The supreme sense of scenic intimacy is not matched by road travel and the novelty of piloting your own passage along the tracks is an undeniable winner with the Kiwi love affair with anything DIY. Forgotten World Adventures offers a variety of touring options. The 20 Tunnel Tour is a 10-hour affair reaching Whangamomona. “The Ultimate” is a two-day tour spanning the full 142km length of the line, all the way to Stratford, after sleeping overnight in Whangamomona. In addition to the railcarts, you can also try your hand at the New Zealand-made RailBikes, with side by side seating, on the 5 Tunnel and 10 Tunnel tours. Only a moderate level of fitness is needed. I also took a ride on the Forgotten World Jet for a flavour of the beauty, reverence and heritage of the Wanganui River. My driver/guide was Robert Carter, a local legend who has been guiding visitors along the river for 35 years. He pointed out to me the astonishing amount of volcanic material, discharged by Taupo and Ruapehu, that has stamped its presence on the landscape. Forgotten World’s new custombuilt 15-seater jetboat operates various excursions including a 232km return journey to the Bridge to Nowhere, and on the multi-day excursions, she’ll zip you all the way down to Wanganui city. In fact, Forgotten World Adventures operate the longest commercial jetboat rides in the Southern Hemisphere. If you’re taking an overnight excursion, be sure to spend a night in the self-proclaimed Republic of Whangamomona and get your passport stamped at the Whangamomona Hotel. It’s truly one of New Zealand’s legendary watering holes. While in Taumarunui, my head hit the pillow at the Forgotten World Motel (formerly known as the Hilton.) My well-appointed unit was clean, quiet and toasty, the beds are cloud-comfortable and there’s free wi-fi. •For further details on the full product range, head to www. fwa.co.nz SPEED: The longest commercial jetboat ride in the Southern Hemisphere. SCENERY: Animals vastly outnumber people. FAST FACTS •Thrifty Car Rental offers hot deals, swift service and an excellent fleet in handy locations. AA Members can save up to 30 per cent off the all-inclusive rental rates. Plus, book an autumn getaway and choose from three sweet offers – 30 cents off per litre of fuels, rent for three days and pay for two or enjoy a 10 per cent rental discount. www. thrifty.co.nz