Happy New Year 2013 in Palmerston North New Zealand

8 02 2013

Early on the 31st we dropped Paul’s daughter Anthia off for a flight back to Melbourne. For New Year’s Eve, Paul, Liz and I would hit up a couple of their favorite places visited by local Kiwis, The Rose & Crown which is a very English style pub, and then closer to home for driving – The Bunnythorpe Tavern!

I was assured I’d meet lots of Kiwis and I was not disappointed! I was not just the only Yank, but the only foreigner in either place! Liz got into a very nice New Year’s Eve dress. I did not pack any “dressy” stuff for this trip so I was stuck with backpacker pants and Carhartt button down shirt. Not to matter. I was all comfortable when we arrived at the Rose & Crown. Nobody was in a tux! Paul is sort of a luminary in Palmy North. As soon as we stepped out of the truck people were greeting us warmly. There was a group of smokers outside, and everyone else gathered seated at a table inside. I was introduced and felt pretty much at home conversing with these friendly folks.


After a couple rounds of beer, we heard a commotion outside, and in comes a man in a kilt with a staff. He is leading a band of Scottish pipers – who soon piled in to the pub, playing up a storm! There were 15 or so of them.

This was great fun. So it seems this merry band does a New Year’s Eve tour, going from bar to bar until the stroke of midnight!

Then it was time to have something to eat, lest the brew go to the head. Ordering and paying for restaurant food in New Zealand is different than in America. Instead of sitting down and ordering food from a server, you order and pay for your meal from the bar. And you do not tip!

Paul suggests a Lamb Shank, so I order that and it’s really good. It comes with peas and mashed potatoes. Just what is perfect on New Year’s Eve.


Then it’s on to the Bunnythorpe Tavern.


The area called Bunnythorpe is a small crossroads of roads 6km from Palmerston North. Mostly residents, primarily folks who work in agricultural trades, visit the tavern to socialize.

The tavern is as unpretentious as you can imagine! Basically a cinder block structure with pool tables, bar, and a stage. It doesn’t matter if you are age 25 or 65, if you live in Bunnythorpe, you go there. Everyone knows you and probably more than you want! Hard to make a move in a small town without everyone knowing about it!

The band was trying as hard as possible to play some cover songs for what they thought the crowd wanted to hear, yet everyone was complaining and glad when they took a break. Seems they were locals, too, because folks were giving band members a hard time during the break.

I had a good time there. Lots to talk about with Kiwis, who have me plenty of advice on things to do on my trip! With that, we departed, driving extra careful on the way home as it was New Year’s Eve!

Paul and his family were wonderful hosts, and this really was a great way to start my New Zealand holiday. There is nothing like going to the other side of the world and meeting with friends. Now, I’d be flying to New Zealand’s South Island, to Christchurch, to meet with Elwin and Angelique – and we’d start our exploration.



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