IN MID­DLE

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - WEEKLY TRAVEL -

Dur­ing the last school hol­i­days, I said to my three teenagers, “Let’s go nowhere!” That sounded good to them as they con­tem­plated time on screens watch­ing YouTube videos, but I had some­thing else in mind.

Nowhere is in mid-Can­ter­bury, about an hour’s drive from the charm­ing vil­lage of Mt Somers. Erewhon is named af­ter the book by Sa­muel But­ler (“nowhere” spelt back­wards but leav­ing the “w” and “h” in place for smoother flow). It’s a 14,164ha sta­tion at the head of the Ran­gi­tata River – beau­ti­ful but bru­tal coun­try, spec­tac­u­lar, cold and iso­lated. As you drive in across fords, you feel you are trav­el­ling into the South­ern Alps them­selves.

Erewhon Sta­tion has been owned and run by Colin Drum­mond for the past 20 years. He was re­cently joined by his new wife Erin Cassie and to­gether they farm this amaz­ing prop­erty the old way – with horses.

Erin took us on a wagon ride up into the hills above the homestead, driv­ing a team of six Cly­des­dales. She was at the reins on a hair-rais­ing track with tight corners and pro­vided an en­thralling com­men­tary to go with the mag­nif­i­cent views. We learned about the psy­chol­ogy of horse teams, the ad­van­tages of horses over four-wheel-drives and how to muster merino sheep.

The ride was cold, but Erin wore shorts. She ex­plained she wears them for as long as she can into the year to store vi­ta­min D from the sun be­fore the dark win­ter sets in. You can’t find farm­ing any more au­then­tic than this in 2018, and af­ter­wards we had a homestead lunch of roast mut­ton, spuds and salad.

Erewhon should be on ev­ery­one’s bucket list as a Kiwi and on the way back, we stopped at Mt Sun­day. It’s a small hill that got its name be­cause bound­ary rid­ers from high-coun­try sta­tions would meet there on Sun­days. For Lord of the Rings fans, this “moun­tain” was trans­formed into the vil­lage of Edo­ras in The Two Tow­ers. It’s a short (1.5 km), sharp climb, with awe­some views of the South­ern Alps.

The road be­tween Mt Somers and Erewhon Sta­tion also passes the lit­tle hol­i­day set­tle­ment of Lake Clear­wa­ter, which is pop­u­lar for sail­ing,

Above: A view of spec­tac­u­lar Mt Somers from the sta­tion. Left: Mary’s twins, Jack and El­iz­a­beth, meet some friendly lo­cals. Be­low: The Cly­des­dales in ac­tion.

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