Tonight was one of those nights where there was no plan, and it worked out perfectly.
We arrived in Gore, a small town of only 12,000 a couple of hours from Dunedin, in time to stop for a pint before stocking up at the supermarket. The Lonely Planet described a country music festival in the town that ensures ten days of hotel bookings per year, but as for the other 355… Gore itself boasts that it is “motor-home friendly”, and there are a few places to park a camper van and plug in, including at the local showground. Sounds promising. The perfect place to sleep and depart early, without having to worry about missing out.
A quick peek around an outdoor cattle market made it clear that we weren’t going to get power here without blowing some fuses or getting electrocuted. Over the road were a few camper vans in a little fenced-off car park. We parked, we plugged in, we walked innocently into the neighbouring bar, and we were welcomed into the Gore Town and Country Club!
This is the cheapest night of accommodation we’ve had, and the cheapest pint. It’s a good old-fashioned working mens’ club. We came into a warehouse-sized bar that looked a bit like a wedding reception – a bunch of tables loosely arranged around a small dance floor, with a local singer and guitarist playing along to a CD of 80s cheese and sounding awfully close to karaoke. Within two minutes of our arrival, while I was at the bar, Jo had been whisked away for a dance. There was horse chariot racing on the telly and groups avidly watching the rugby. The walls were covered with notices of who’d won that weeks raffle prize and the detailed rules of the car club. There was a slideshow of pictures from recent fishing and shooting weekends. As for bar snacks, we had a microwaved frozen quiche (veg or ham) and a three-inch wide chewy “pizza”.
It was brilliant. Thank you for having us! Da-doo-ron-ron-ron, da-doo-ron-ron-ron…