Tag Archives: South Canterbury

The Shearers’ Quarters

Hidden away on a quiet back road in the tiny hamlet of Seadown, just north of Timaru, the Shearers’ Quarters country gift shop and cafe, is a slice of retro rustic heaven which offers a great outing for visitors of all ages and tastes.

The Shearer's Quarters
The Shearer’s Quarters

Coffee aficionados can sip their brew of choice on a comfy armchair beside the log fire in the old silo, at a chunky table in the disused shearing shed, on the wide, shady verandah or in a secluded spot in the sunny garden. The Shearers’ Quarters has a tranquil, uncrowded space with a nostalgic country flavour for every season. The coffee is superb and a good range of teas is available too. The food is rich and generous; it took two kids and three adults to conquer a slice of chocolate mud cake and a further two adults and two kids to dispense with a caramel oat slice.

Housed in the abandoned shearers’ quarters which give the business its name, the gift shop provides happy hunting and foraging for lovers of arts and crafts.

Just off the shearing shed section of the cafe, there’s a playroom to keep the little kids occupied. Out front the garden is perfect for hide and seek.

The Shearers’ Quarters is also available for functions and on that beautiful, sunny autumn day when I sat sipping my cafe latte and doing my bit with that slice of chocolate mud cake, I couldn’t help thinking wistfully of a romantic wedding ceremony in the garden and a banquet at a long tables on the verandah of the old shearing shed.

In an age when barns, sheds, stables, churches, banks and even post offices have been born again as gift shops and cafes and in a region rich with crafts, coffee and great food, the Shearers’ Quarters country gift shop and cafe is a stand out.

The Shearers Quarters is located at 932 Seadown Road just north of Timaru in South Canterbury, the South Island of New Zealand

Don’t miss St Andrews

Head south on State Highway 1 from Timaru and in a short time you’ll arrive in St Andrews. Blink twice and you’ll miss this tiny seaside village. The road and the railway line run, side by side, straight through it. Beyond the railway line, scattered rows of houses look out across the Pacific Ocean to the horizon. It’s a view to die for.

Masonic Hotel, St Andrews
Masonic Hotel, St Andrews

On the land side of the road running through St Andrews, there’s a bright, shiny service station, a couple of stores, an antique shop, a few more houses and the beautiful Art Deco Masonic Hotel. Faithfully restored and re-refurbished its original style, it offers accommodation, fine cuisine in an elegant dining room, a comfortable lounge and a bar with a comprehensive menu and beverage list which includes a great range of New Zealand wines and boutique beers.

On the cold autumn day, when chance blew me into St Andrews at lunch time, I was introduced to the stone-grill experience. I must confess I was somewhat taken aback when a sizzling hot plate and three portions of raw meat were placed before me. But, after instructions from the waitress and a few tentative tries, I was grilling away great guns, turning out mouthfuls of pork, lamb and steak precisely to my own tastes. Accompanied by a small green salad and a baked potato, my stone-grill lunch was perfect. I would like, however, to make one small recommendation to the chef à propos the steak – leave the fat on!

I can imagine a great life in St Andrews – a cottage overlooking the ocean, the sound of the waves tossing restlessly on the sand, long walks on the beach in all seasons, convivial sessions in the Masonic Hotel in all seasons, a bit of craft, a bit of creativity …

But if not, I’ll put a stay at the Masonic Hotel on my agenda and I’ll definitely stop in for dinner one day.