Another day, another pub in our book to visit. The Wedderburn Tavern was on our route from Omakau to Ranfurly, so the driver was persuaded to stop and call in for a coffee. It would be rude not to call in, don’t you think, especially as it was right on our way.
Previously called the Crown Hotel, it served as a coaching stop for travelers, and served liquor to the local farm workers, coal miners and gold prospectors. The exterior of the hotel has now been taken back to the original local schist, and the interior glows with the patina of aged timber.
Formerly the Crown Hotel
The railway came to town in 1890, carrying logs, sheep and coal, and became the lifeblood of the area. But it wasn’t to last with passenger services ending in 1976, and the goods trains finally stopping in 1990. But the opening of the Otago Central Rail Trail in 2000 now brings in about 10,000 people a year through Wedderburn and other local pubs, with many of them calling in for coffee, meals and accommodation,keeping them all in business. A group having lunch told us that they were riding their horses along part of the rail trail, so that sounded like fun. Although the shingle track was rather hard on the horses' hooves, they remarked.
The friendly staff member made our coffees, signed our book, and then invited us to stand behind the bar to have our photo taken.
The big green goods shed just along the road is just as famous as the pub as it features in one of Grahame Sydney’s paintings.
The Wedderburn Station is the only remaining example of a Vogel Period Class 5 Station, clad in weatherboards with a corrugated iron roof. As one of the last built, Wedderburn Railway Station is of architectural importance, a simple building to serve as the country’s smallest staffed station.
Another lovely old pub ticked off our list, with the added bonus of the famous good shed and little station.