Category Archives: Family Travel

Diary of a Wanderer: Homestay at Rangiora, Christchurch-Canterbury

A home away from home…is what my stay at the quaint little home in Rangiora, Christchurch-Canterbury was all about.

A  pretty ordinary day…dotted with simple pleasures that was enough to put a smile on my lips…leave me with a warm toasty feeling. A day which leaves you with a feeling of being complete. A day which, whilst I write this blog post, makes me realize that it is indeed simple pleasures – being in the warm folds of a family, going about routine chores – that makes life a treat!

My day kick  started with a big smile from Margaret who met me at  Christchurch International Airport. A grandmotherly like figure – warm smiles and hugs, she opened her arms and welcomed me into her home and her heart with a single smile.

Forty minutes later,  we were at her lovely home in a small town called Rangiora (approx. population 11,000).

(Rangiora Township is small but has all the conveniences of a town without the crowds and traffic jams. The rest of the town is only homes and farmlands. A picture perfect little town which is every Wanderers dream destination…)

Stepping into her warm abode was a  treat to every gourmand’s senses. Freshly baked cakes and cookies welcomed me…and well, just when you think you can get away with a nibble here and there…a nibble turns into a bite…a bite turns into a big bite and before you know it – the decadent delights are polished off the table – which earns me a big smile from my hostess.

A cuppa tea later, we set out in her SUV to the milking station, and en route picked up Bob, her husband.

The milking station was nothing like I imagined it to be. Sure, it smelt like a cow stable back in India, but it was completely mechanized as far as the operations were concerned.

All the cows get herded into a staging area feeding into the rotary milking platform which holds around 50 cows at a time. The machine spins and loads/unloads cows at a pretty brisk pace. One time around is the amount of time needed to finish milking each cow. So once they reach the end, the milking cups automatically fall off and the cow steps out, heading back to a pasture. Farms have as many as 800 cows so it is a lot of planning & hard work, in spite of all the automation.

Wow…Impressive is the adjective I use for want of any better word. A world removed from the cow sheds of India!

And a little later after exploring their farm and basking  in the lush verdant beauty, we headed out to one of  their son’s homes.

Margaret & Bob have a huge family (17 grand children!) The family tree is chronicled through the many pictures Margaret has put up in their home (much like my wall at home). It was interesting to be a part of their routine and listen to the children talk about their day. At which point, it really made me realize that life is full of simple pleasures – the pitter patter of children running about, the warm hearth, the soft tinkling laughter of Margaret, the warm smiles from Bob and his son and  how, in their own way, they enveloped me so easily into their fold.

Came home to a dinner of succulent roast lamb & vegetables (beans, carrot & cauliflower) and spent some time chatting after dinner. By 7:45 pm I was ready to call it a day!

The quaint little heaven they call home is just perfect – the heater making the room warm and toasty…and my bed was inviting.

A long but lovely day that reminded me of simpler childhood holidays (Bob & Margaret are the quintessential grandparents – they pampered me to bits!)

I’ve always believed that every Wandering has its own feel – but a homestay is something that I definitely recommend  in New Zealand for those who want to experience the peace & quiet of the local life here and leave with a warm, fuzzy feeling!

More on my Wanderings soon….

Ciao, Farah

About Rangiora:

Rangiora was occupied by Maori for several hundred years before the arrival of Europeans. The beauty of the area and the potential for grazing lands inspired a Canterbury surveyor, Charles Obins Torlesse, to build the first dwelling in the town in 1851. The main industries in the area are lamb production, dairying, fruit growing and mixed farming. Southern hemisphere truffles are a new specialty crop. The town has several interesting museums and some wonderful heritage buildings, including one of Canterbury’s oldest wooden churches. The beaches of Pegasus Bay are within easy reach and the nearby rivers are popular for fishing and walking.

About Farah Bode: When she gets time from travelling (or getting people to travel), Farah enjoys music, interior designing, dancing and shopping in the bustling streets of Crawford Market, Mumbai. Some of her previous conquests include Canada, US, Philippines, Kenya, France and Italy.


Top things you need to keep in mind when you are traveling with your kids: The Wanderers’ Way

Treat your trip like an adventure – and before you know it, the annoyances, missteps and mishaps simply become small obstacles for your hearty band of explorers to overcome. If you get stressed when you can’t find your hotel, your kids will get stressed too. When you think of it as “exploring the neighborhood,” voila…it becomes an adventure and the whines and groans vanish into thin air.
Yes, it would be easier if you visit kid-friendly destinations while you are away. Places like a children’s museum or the zoo are great fun for the whole family. The key to a good vacation with kids is to keep them busy!

Bring lots of travel games and activities for the kids to do in the car or on the plane. Personal gaming systems like the Nintendo DS and a portable DVD player can be a real sanity-saver on long road trips.  Bring plenty of snacks and drinks- keeping little tummies full and happy keeps you sane.

When you are flying: Most airlines have Children’s meals. They tend to include more kid friendly options and often come with toys or stickers. Don’t forget to pack in some pretzels and candy bars. Pack in a good set of portable art supplies with crayons, markers and some paper and lo behold…the supplies work their magic into transforming boredom into hours of amusement.  Don’t forget the medical insurance, medicines and baby wipes.

Oh yes, at the end of it what you really need is the right attitude. Whether you are pushing a stroller with one hand while pulling a wheeled carry-on with the other, or if you are tagging along a toddler who insists on pulling his own rolling bag (at his own leisurely pace), allow yourself – and your kids- plenty of time for check-ins, security checks and walks to your gates. Kids have an amazing ability to completely ignore the urges of parents who are late for an appointment. So go on with a smile and keep a camera ready – you can always capture a candid moment!
When you are going on a road trip…

•    Frisbee – great for some quick exercise when making a stop.  Also can be used for a handy tray for eating on.
•    Plastic Boxes – To hold the supplies – the lid makes a great desk.  Fill with crayons, mechanical pencils, highlighters
•    Clean Water – several bottles of water work best for drinking, a quick wash up, cleaning a scrape and so on.   Buy a case for the trunk or refill at rest stops.
•    Lightweight Blanket – small child’s blanket for cuddling with at nap time, blocking the sun or using as a pillow.
•    Paper Towels – for quick clean ups.
•    Snacks – Cookies, hard candy, pretzels…lifesavers in our book.
•    Compass – Fun for the kids if they want to help navigate.
•    Zip Lock Bags – bring several different sizes.  These come in very handy for collecting items (shells), storing food, wet clothes…
•    Trash bags – for storing laundry, wet items or for keeping the car clean.