Upper Moutere is cool.
It’s so country that you’d almost expect a horse-hitching rail outside the village store, but a heavy duty 4wd gives you an idea.
The town started out as Sarau, one of 2 villages founded by German settlers in the 19th century. (The only German settlement in New Zealand, in fact, and it’s utterly incongruous to look at the war memorials of both world wars in the grounds of the Lutheran church and read the German names who died fighting for their country against their ancestors)
But it’s definitely not Hicksville.
Oldest pub in New Zealand
Down the road in Neudorf (the other original village) is Neudorf Vineyards, one of the best in the country and producer of a chardonnay that’s ranked among the top in world, and the Neudorf Cheese Company.
The general store has a stunning range of local wines, olive oil and honey and a real fruit ice cream machine (local invention) that turns ice cream and frozen berries into instant heaven.
Next door, there’s a good fish and chip shop, down the road there’s Moutere Gold (in what used to be the Post Office) with preserves, more oil, kitchen stuff, free range eggs and lots of unnecessary frilly things.
Sue knows everyone and everything, so when we called in on Katie and Owen, “clay artist” and “potter” respectively) the following day, he said “Oh, I heard you were back in town”
“Who was the little birdie, then?” I asked.
“Do you have to ask? Sue, of course” he said