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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Picnic at Lake Ferry

Remember those picnics from days gone by?  All good fun, sitting around on camp chairs and eating picnic lunches in the blazing sun?  It was about time we had another one, it was decided, so Sunday was declared picnic day by our rally family.  So we duly packed up our picnic lunches, filled the thermos, gathered our fold up seats and tables, (no sitting on picnic rugs for oldies like us, we wouldn’t be able to get back up again), pooled cars, and set off for Lake Onoke, at the Lake Ferry settlement.  This is a small fishing and holiday settlement on the eastern side of the outlet of Lake Onoke, 35 km south-west of Martinborough, and was once the site of a ferry service that operated across the lake outlet.


We set ourselves up under some shady macrocarpa trees beside the domain.  It was a lovely spot, with views out over the lake behind us.  Youngsters were busy playing on the various apparatus in the adjacent playground, and one or two decided to have a go climbing a large tree close by – oh, to be as flexible as young children are.

Lake Onoke

Out came our lunches, and we spent a happy time chatting, munching, sipping on drinks, and generally just enjoying the company and the lovely fresh air.


Enjoying our picnic lunches

And just over the fence was this rather rustic looking motor home, complete with a huge flowering cactus plant.  No, we decided, it’s not quite what we would be looking for as a replacement van.

Home on wheels over the fence

Some of us went for a walk after lunch.  The Lake Ferry Hotel was busy, and we had previously enjoyed some great meals there on earlier visits.  Lake Ferry Hotel was established in 1851 primarily as a base for a ferry service, the publican also being the ferryman. It is the oldest licenced hotel in the Wairarapa and one of the oldest in New Zealand. Although the original building has long gone the current bungalow structure is very suitable for today’s conditions having withstood many a spectacular coastal storm.

Lake Ferry Hotel

This stretch of coast is very dangerous so must be treated with caution. 

Onoke Spit is a sandbar between the sea and the foot of Lake Onoke, where the Ruamahanga River enters Palliser Bay. It is a popular recreational area for off road drivers, motor bikers and recreational fishers, as well as walkers, botanists and bird watchers.


After our walk we moved from the shade of the trees into the sunshine, then back again to cool down again.  Finally it was time to pack up and drive back to Karutara School again, stopping off to buy an ice cream at the historic Pirinoa General Store, still going strong after more than 130 years in business.  The building still has the original timber floorboards, shelving, pelmets and counter, so it really is a step back in time.  The shop has been serving the rural township continuously since it opened in 1882, only about 40 years after European settlement of Wairarapa began.

Pirinoa General Store

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