Dorothy - 29/1/99
A tiny dot on the map but a fast developing holiday centre
How did we find it?
We were driving from Greymouth to Reefton on the West Coast of the South
Island of New Zealand and had not brought our usual thermos flask of hot
water, tea and coffee. It was a hot morning and we got really thirsty.
The next township on the road was Ikamatua and it looked as though the
local hotel would be the only source of morning tea. The pub looked
quite an ordinary New Zealand pub in the old style.
A friendly reception typical of the famed West Coast hospitality - "Of
course we serve morning tea. Would you like new scones and jam or cake?
Perhaps you'd like to have it in the garden." We chose tea and scones in
the garden behind the hotel.
The garden offered a big surprise. At the other side of a large lawn
stood the Ikamatua Railway Station. A large marquee was on the lawn. When
the friendly proprietor brought the first rate scones and tea we started
asking her questions about this unusual place.
Nette and Brian's story
Twelve and a half years ago Nette and Brian Collins gave up their clerical
jobs in Ashburton and bought the hotel in Ikamatua to begin a steep
learning curve, especially in the early weeks.
Nette and Brian Collins
They have never looked back and never stopped working to offer a special
kind of holiday centre. They have now been joined in the venture by their
son Gregory and his Canadian wife Deedee.
Years ago the village had three timber mills and was the base town for the
gold mining centre at Waiuta. The timber mills have closed and the gold
mine closed in 1954. It is still the district centre for the farming
community and people picking sphagnum moss. 125 residents live in the
Why visit Ikamatua?
It's beside rivers and numerous streams close at hand for fishing for
In the small streams the season is from October to March, but the Grey
River is open for fishing all year. Not far away are Lakes Haupiri and
Hochstetter. Two fishing guides operate from the hotel as their base.
To find a peaceful retreat
The valley plain is surrounded by bushclad hills. It's a peaceful little
village. If you want to get away from the city, it's your answer.
The ghost town of Waiuta, 17 kilometres (10.5 miles) away, has been
developed as a historical site for visitors.
The Visitors' Centre in Reefton, twenty minutes' drive away, has full
information about the area and its history, including a simulation of a
There is a swimming pool on site.
Pig and deer hunting attracts a lot of shooters.
For special events
The hotel is becoming increasingly popular as a centre for weekend
The hotel at a time of celebration
This is held in early January.
At Waitangi weekend there is to be a motocross event called the Golden
Nuggets. Trophies have been donated featuring greenstone and gold from the
area. It's not part of the championship. It's just a relaxing weekend.
The Darcy Seymour Memorial Chop
Darcy Seymour's records for chopping still stand for Australasia. Seventy
eight choppers from all over New Zealand attend this contest.
The Grey Valley Rugby Club pick up the chips and sell them for the club
Four wheel drive clubs
These clubs book out the holiday weekends.
Old American war jeeps
These enthusiasts are coming to Ikamatua this month.
Senior citizens walking group
These people have booked in during February.
The shooters visit in May.
The hotel has become a popular centre for these.
The marquee is used for stalls on the days of special events.
Nette and Brian wanted to develop a place where families could afford to
stay. They have transported ten cabins to the site, sleeping from two to
five people in each cabin. They are well maintained and surrounded by
A cabin near the swimming pool
There are toilets and bathrooms beside each group of cabins. The beds are
comfortable. Sheets can be hired, but most people bring their sleeping
In the late eighties the station was no longer used as the railway line
from Greymouth to Westport carried only freight and the new coal trucks
wouldn't go under the verandah. The verandah was removed and then
demolition was planned. Nette and Brian saw its potential for their
holiday centre, and negotiated to buy it.
The Ikamatua Railway station on its new site.
Ikamatua is a community where people pull together, and the Lions Club cut
the station in half and shifted it to the back of the hotel lawn. Now it
has an ablution block at one end, a well equipped kitchen and free washing
machine in the centre, and a back packers' dormitory to sleep six at the
There are sites for tents and campervans and six power points are
The present programme of improvement is the redecorating of the three
double bedrooms in the hotel - each with an ensuite.
Full meals are available in an attractive dining room.
A Christmas party in the dining room
Evenings - a time for being sociable
There's a warm welcome in the bar and karaoke if you want it.
There was a street party at New Year this year and another is planned for
If you like what you've read put this place on your list of holiday
Published with permission from NZine