I made a friend and took a drive to a place that didn’t exist.
There’s a relatively popular ski field nearby that sits atop one of the windiest, steepest, and there’s-no-fucking-way-I’m-driving-up-there roads in the South Island. Needless to say we didn’t go skiing. However, both of us had heard of the ‘Ohau Village’ that lead us to believe there was some kind of explorable town centre in which there was, fingers crossed, a bar of sorts. No.
There were three potential sites for said non-existant village. The first being the eponymous Ohau Village.
“Ah, yes!”, we both cried, “this has to be it!”.
It was not it.
Instead what we discovered was a very well paved hill that dipped and turned through many sloping crescents leading to the driveways of million dollar holiday houses. Village my ass.
But imagine waking up to this view.
Back down the hill we went.
The next potential site took us down a gravel road. I’m not the most confident at driving on gravel roads at the best of times, let alone when I’ve got a rock face to my left and a steep drop to my right. The speed limit was 100kph but you better believe I was only doing 50kph. The view was beautiful but I wasn’t ready to die that day. Honestly I think I still had yesterday’s knickers on.
About 5km in, logic prevailed and we figured that if there was a town centre in a popular tourist spot, it wasn’t likely to be down a gravel road. So I performed a very nimble and necessary 10-point-turn and we headed back down the gravel road, this time with the steep drop right outside the passenger door.
Just before the beginning of the gravel road, we had passed a turn off with an accompanying sign that was directing people towards the Ohau Lodge and Ski field. As our only remaining option we thought, to hell with it, let’s traverse this dangerous road. The need for a bevy was strong.
Oh what joy was thrust upon us when we discovered the the lodge was not up the same hill as the ski field. But there was no town center there either … So we doubled back and doubled our efforts. Back up the wealthy winding way and even braving the gravel road again. My companion talked me into persevering for the mere 7km indicated, by road sign, to be gravelled.
This time we almost made it to the end of the gravel road but were stop by a ford in the road which I didn’t want to risk getting Lil Suz (my car) stuck in. But have I mentioned the views yet?
As it turns out, there is no town center in Ohau. But there is a lodge. And the lodge has a bar, although the bar isn’t open until 4pm so we had to settle for coffee.
Like I’ve been saying, fucking beautiful views that serve to keep me distracted from thinking about the concrete jungles of London that I so long for.
We’ve even got a bit of Deliverance country down this way too …