Duntroon Hotel prepares for visitors

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The Duntroon Hotel has undergone renovations over the last few months and has just opened a new dining room.

Publican Nicolas Evans said the new cafe, lunch, dinner area is open for business and is part of an overall plan to modernise the hotel in preparation for visitors using the Alp 2 Ocean cycle trail.

Mr Evans, who has an extensive background in hospitality, began managing the hotel in March and has completed several upgrades including the toilets, public bar and lounge area.

“We are currently offering a comprehensive all day menu and starting soon there will be icecreams, cold drinks, pies and sandwiches available,” he said.

“We’re also looking at options to re-open accommodation within the hotel and looking at possibilities in the grounds of the hotel.”

“It’s a key spot and whatever we do has to be professional.”

A lack of accommodation in the village was to be discussed at a community meeting last night.

Mike Gray, secretary of the Duntroon & District Development Association, said the purpose of the meeting is to find people who are conscious the Alps to Ocean cycle trail is happening and who want to be part of it.

“We have some bed and breakfasts – they meet a certain market, we have a camping ground – which is not for everyone, so what we need is private, self-contained accommodation.”

“We’re seeing people getting bussed to other places for accommodation and we want them to stay here in Duntroon and enjoy what we have to offer.”

“The best outcome from the meeting is not necessarily to solve the problem but to throw out ideas and brainstorm, and if six people put up their hands and are interested in a follow-up meeting I’ll be happy.

Mr Gray said they have a wide range of attractions in the area including the wetlands, Elephant Rocks, the Tokerahi golf course and Nicol’s Blacksmith, which is a category one Heritage New Zealand building and has been undergoing renovations.

“Other blacksmith shops throughout the country are gone,” Mr Gray said.

“This one is on the main road and shows the progression of being a blacksmith to a wheelwright (fixes wheels and carriages) to an automotive workshop used to service and repair early cars.”

He said artefacts have been catalogued and renovations are to be finished in a months’ time when the building will be opened to the public. The next stage, which is at least one year away, will be to bring the shop to life and ‘tell the story’ through sound and lighting.

By LINDA MCCARTHY

PHOTO: LINDA MCCARTHY

BIG PLANS: Duntroon Hotel publican, Nicolas Evans, in the refurbished dining room at the hotel which is now being used.