Little Town with a Big Sky

There are days where life seems to be simple without trying. Worry free and reminiscent of something you can’t quite pin point. The town of St. Bathans seems to sell this by the pint.

On our quest to experience as many of the fee free campsites as possible, we find ourselves now, in a remote area between trendy Queenstown and the university city of Dunedin. A small road that loops off the main freeway for about 30 km leads us here to a former gold mining town, where nothing more exists than a small gallery, a restaurant that is not much more than a tavern, and a small campsite. On our visit to the town, we parked next to a toyota pickup truck with two freshly gutted boars lined up above the bed- no one seemed at all bothered by this- almost as a reminder that our city expectations are the things out of wack. Here, life is real and not always nicely presented in butcher paper and plastic wrap.

Inside the little tavern (founded 1868), the bar was fully seated by the same group of locals that lined up everyday for their Speights Golden Ale and chips. Black and white pictures of the golden era lined the walls and town kids bellied up to the pool table as the Sunday afternoon passed by. We sat in the corner as outsiders, not once feeling out of place but perhaps out of era.

Small town New Zealand. Not unlike small town America. Life here has fewer equations. We don’t dare ask where the closest wifi is- we know better.

And as if the earth will never fail in tying off a slow simple day with an even better slow simple evening, the sunset lifted into the sky like a slowly sculpted painting. We sat on a abandoned wood deck in the middle of our campsite field and took in each moment without hesitation. Something picture books try to emulate. Taking over the entire field as if there was never any land- only sky. Goodnight, little St. Bathans. Thanks for the escape…

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