the alfmeister

a figment of reality's imagination

The Hurunui Hotel…


The first time I entered the historic Hurunui Hotel I was 15 and was taken in by my older brother Warren. We had just played Senior Reserve rugby up at Culverden (about 10km north) and were pub crawling home. I feel in love with the place there and then, but it would be at least 20 years before I enjoyed another drink there.

A few years ago Katie was doing a horse trek out the back of Hawerden with a couple of friends and I came down from Auckland to spend a week in and about North Canterbury. I booked in for a couple of nights in the Hurunui Hotel at the grand price of $45/night. I have fallen in love with the place, the quaintness of the rooms, the time warp that the place seems to be in (and should be as it does hold one of the oldest licenses in the country).

Travis, the licensee is one of the best around. Serving beers, sharing ditties, and cooking your breakfast the following morning (yes, breakfast is included in the fare!!), there is no better example that I have seen of a forthright, and stereotypical barman.

After Katie had finished her week-long trek, we flew back to Auckland and that night, being Leap Year, she proposed to me. So after we got married last Xmas, and she said we should head away for a couple of nigihts, I found she had booked us a night in the Hurunui in recognition of a few years before (I had joked we should have our honeymoon there knowing full well that she wouldn’t – no TV, communal shower yadi yada).

I would like to see the place become a stop over for bikers on their way to the Brass Monkey or Burt Munroe, if not to have a dedicated bike rally – there is a camp site just over the Hurunui River.

For anyone wanting to stop for a beer, or their cracking gourmet pies and pizzas, or need a place to put your head, this is the place for you. Say “hi” to Travis and tell him I sent you.

Above left; Hurunui Hotel as I sketched it
Above right; old horse-drawn cart out front of Hurunui Hotel

Above left; the old stables next door to the Hotel, at time of drawing was a wine cellar (and seller) to the vineyard over the back – now it appears to be a tacky diner, complete with neon and LED signs!
Above right; The Homestead for the Hurunui Horse Treks where the girls finally got to have a clean up after their five days on horses.
I apologise for the sketches, they haven’t scanned up that well.

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