Judy and Steve’s Amazing Walking Adventures

Ever wondered how a small idea ends up being something much bigger and more challenging than you ever anticipated? Well this is how it happens for us.

Last year while travelling in Italy, Steve and I did lots of walking and one of the most challenging was a walk up to Alpe Maccagno at 2131 mts. It was a stunning walk through forested meadows, over a Nepoleonic bridge and then steadily climbed through fields following an ancient path up to a lake. Here there are a cluster of stone buildings and for six weeks of the year cows graze on the lush mountain grass, they are milked twice daily and this is made into cheese. This hamlet had been our goal and we were pleased when Francisco popped out of one of the cottages and offered us some cheese and a cup of coffee.









It had been a slog to get up there and on our descent we realised why – it was rather steep all the way down. After 7 hours we were pleased to be back at St Antonio where there was a welcome rifugio and cold beer for our efforts. While we sat there a Welshman came in for the night and we got chatting. He was doing the GTA – Grande Traversata Delle Alpi, a 55 day walk through the alps. He was semi retired and doing it alone. I was very inspired by this and as we drove back to our base in Campertogno I said to Steve ” Wouldn’t that be a great thing to do in NZ? I think there is a long walk you can do from Cape Rianga to Bluff.” And that was the start of a huge challenge we have set for ourselves.

Te Araroa is a 3000 km walk but as Steve and I are both South Islanders we have decided to do only the 1200km South Island section. Starting in the north where Steve grew up and finishing in the south where I grew up seems to us a great linking of our lives, past and present. We have both done a bit of tramping in the years before family and business took over but we have managed a few walks over the last few years. We are incredibly lucky to be in a region that offers so many choices not too far from home. BUT this challenge we have set ourselves is a little more serious than a walk in the park so we are doing more serious tramps to get us prepared for our long walk next year.

Three weeks ago Steve, our friend Be and I tackled Mt Owen. I had done it 15 years ago but did not remember what a grunt it was. My companions were incredibly patient with my slow progress and we got there in the end. Always a fantastic sight when you turn a corner and there is the hut and a much improved version from the one I stayed in previously. A restorative dinner, relaxed evening and good sleep put us in good stead for a walk to the summit. It was a glorious day and the walk through the alpine meadows was a real treat. Up on the rocks was a bit more of a challenge and as I had been to the top before I sat out the last 40 mins and waited in the sun while Steve and Be summited. We had a wonderful picnic lunch back down in the meadow and then strolled on back to the hut. The walk down the next day was perfect, it was a still, sunny day with stunning views and we felt invigorated by the previous two days. Walking downhill can be just as arduous as going up, it just affects a different part of you ie your knees. With the assistance of walking poles and just taking our time, stopping for coffee and then for lunch made for an enjoyable descent. We were happy to reach the carpark and cool our feet in the river before driving home for a hot shower and some clean clothes.









We learnt several important things on this trip – 1. Fitness and strength are key and make for a much more enjoyable time. 2. Not going all the way is not a failure, it’s a sensible decision. 3. When walking downhill place your heels on the ground first, it makes you feel more connected to the earth and give your more confidence.

We are slowly building up a level of fitness and knowledge so that when we start the challenge of Te Aroroa in February next year we are as fully prepared as we can be. This is a far cry from when we started the challenge of setting up a cafe in the middle of nowhere in 1991, armed only with a bright idea and a naive belief that “build it and they will come”! We learnt a huge amount very quickly and continue to learn as we go but with this wilderness challenge we feel preparation is key to the success and enjoyment of this very long walk.

I will keep you posted on our progress as we train for this “Out of my comfort zone” project. Next up the Heaphy Track.

5 Great Things To Do In The Holidays

School holidays can be the cause of a parents stress factors going through the roof

so here are 5 ideas to bring those stress factors into the fun zone.


1. Going on a visit to Grandma and Grandpas, for a day or a week, it’s fun for everyone.


2. Get out into nature – hike up a hill, stay overnight in a hut, cook on a fire.

It is always good to broaden the horizons of small people.

First tramp to Flora Hut

3. Have a grandparent (Oma) come to visit and give her a tour of your children’s favourite places,

with the children of course.

Visiting Miyazu Gardens with Oma.

4. Play in the snow or the sand, depending on the weather.

Building a snowman

5. Make something ordinary extraordinary eg. help your child make the transition from trike to bike.

I can do it!

A bit of forward planning can relieve the stress and create school holidays that become enduring memories.

Go on we know you can do it.

Happy Holidays



Big Happy Easter Hugs from us all at Jester House.

We love Easter, the 2 days off and the 2 days of hustle and bustle in the cafe. We love watching the children racing around the garden searching for eggs and then getting creative and designing their own Easter Eggs. We love seeing families getting together over a meal and enjoying a relaxed holiday time. We love the change to lighter mornings that Daylight Saving brings (but not the darker evenings). We love the yummy Easter treats – hot cross buns and chocolate eggs and bunnies. And we love the relaxed feel that Easter brings and serving you our special Jester House hospitality.

We love the annual FREE Easter Egg Hunt that is on Saturday and Sunday of Easter.

Gather your troops, book a table http://jesterhouse.co.nz/the-menu/and come on down and enjoy the fun.


Little Free Library at Jester House

The Little Free Library is now Open.

                                        Little Free Libraries are a global phenomenon. Now, a new Little Free Library is open on the Tasman’s Great Taste Trail at Jester House,                                                                                    joining the movement to share books, bring people together and create communities of readers.

The small, frontyard book exchanges number over 60,000 around the world in 80 countries — from Iceland to Tasman to Pakistan.

   Little Free Library is a nonprofit organisation that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighbourhood book exchanges around the world.

            Through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.

We are proud to have a Little Free library outside Jester House and look forward to seeing the coming and going of books and being its creative stewards.




   A Grand Opening was held on Friday evening with many books being donated and taken.

Speeches were made, cake eaten and lemonade drunk by neighbours from our wider community who came along to celebrate this new community asset situated on the Great Taste Trail outside Jester House.

It is open every day, 24 hours a day so you will never be short of a great read.

          Take a Book, Share a Book, Donate a Book.

Feel free to stop by anytime.

Secret Recipe No 1


We love to share and are often asked for our recipes so here is No 1 in a series of special Jester House recipes. We hope you enjoy it as much as our cafe customers do.
Steve, our exceptional baker, has chosen our classic shortbread with a twist recipe to share with you.

He says it is super easy and great with a cup of tea or coffee.

Lavender Shortbread
Process in a food processor until smooth:
440 grms chilled butter, chopped
1 1/3 cup caster sugar
4 cups flour
1 cup rice flour
2 eggs
Place on a lightly floured surface and knead gently.
While kneading add:
2 Tbsp dried lavender buds
Shape the dough using an icecream scoop to make level scoops.
Cut each level scoop in half.
Roll half scoops into balls.
Place on 3 lined trays.
Flatten each ball gently with a floured fork.
Makes approx 75 biscuits.
Bake at 160°C for 20 minutes.
You can omit the lavender and have them plain or you can add lemon zest for a lemony twist.



This recipe makes quite a number of biscuits but they make a great little treat to give to a neighbour, friend, mother or your boss.

Sending Love Project




The Sending Love Project is about honouring those we care about and to take a moment to let them know.

 Jester House has dedicated the month of February to creating a space for people to connect with those they love but may not have told recently.

There is nothing nicer than getting an unexpected postcard, in the mail, from your friend, daughter, mother, brother, father, Aunty, cousin etc.
and by Sending Love we hope we are helping to put more love and positivity into the world.

                                                               13 artists, both local and international, were given the Sending Love Brief to create an art piece to express what Sending Love means to them.  The original art pieces they created have been scanned and reduced to a postcard size so that they can share their version of Sending Love with the world.

The postcards of the original art works will be for sale. Our guests can send a message of love to someone important in their lives, and to bring more expressions of love into the community. Along with the 13  postcards to choose from, stamps will be available and an especially designed Sending Love Postbox at Jester House will provide for ease of sending a message of love.

Our aim is to send 500 messages of love into the world and to date 299 have been sent. With 10 days to go we hope to reach this target.

Come into the cafe anytime from 9am to 5pm and send your Message of Love and make someones day.

House of Cards, a 52 day evolving exhibit


A house of cards, a 52 day evolving exhibit is the latest and greatest creative project from Steve, our creative director.

He has created a giant pack of cards and the premiss is that every day a new card get drawn from the pack and used, with the cards already drawn, to build that days’ card house.

Friends and public have been invited to book a day and come and participate in the project which is nearing it’s half way point.

This is a press release issued on day 20 to draw attention to the themes of the exhibit,  shelter and housing affordability.

“Day 20 sees Tasman artist Steve Richards reveal his hand and build a card house he can sleep in.

This is a response to the 52 day evolving exhibit’s theme, ‘a practical solution to housing affordability’

“It’s really luck of the draw whether you are in the housing market or not. The government are doing all in their power to 

maintain upward pressure on house prices as this maintains economic growth. Meanwhile the house of cards becomes ever more unstable”

The exhibit finishes 12 November, there are still plenty of days available if you would like to come and participate.

You can follow progress on Jester House instagram  and facebook.

Jester House Royal Family



Jester House Royal Family

Doesn’t everyone want to be a Queen or King? even if it is only as part of the funist aristocracy.
We’ve had Princess Harriette and a Lady Judy in the family here for years, as well a Tickle Monkey and a Grogan.
It’s all part of the fun of life, to give yourself a title beyond Mr/Mrs/Ms.

Now we have decided to update our loyalty system to give us more opportunity to treat you royally.
We still want to treat you on your birthday and we will treat you for becoming part of the family,
but now we can also treat you for coming regularly too.

For every dollar you spend you earn 1 point, once you’ve earned 200 points we send you a voucher for 20 Jester Dollars.

Our new system uses your eftpos or credit card (or both) as your loyalty card so you don’t need to carry anymore cards and it’s all perfectly safe with paymark.

To join Text: jester (space) your email address to 4664 or go to http://jesterhouse.co.nz/join-our-royal-family/.Follow the steps and you’ll soon be part of the royal family.

The loyal royal servers look forward to giving you a right royal time here at Jester House

Get Arty in the School Holidays





It’s nearly the school holidays again and that means the kids are home or your grandchildren are staying and you need activities to do with them. What could be better than a trip to the country and a visit to Jester House. To make it even more worthwhile we a running a FREE activity every day of the holidays, so while you enjoy some peace the children will be happily occupied getting arty.

We have collected a variety of artworks to hang around the garden to inspire the children and then there’s an activity table set up where they can create their own pendant to add to a banner. The banner will then be displayed in the Enchanted Forest when we reopen after our winter break(25th July- 1st September). You can then come and admire the handiwork and there will be a peoples choice competition to choose the best piece.

The holiday activities have been running here at Jester House for several years now and should be a permanent fixture on your holiday calender. Combine your trip to Jester House with a walk on Kina Beach or play on the playground at McKee Reserve or do some rounds of the Pump track at Tasman Domain. There is so much to do here in Tasman and getting Arty ay Jester House is just a start. We look forward to seeing you and your creative children this school holidays.

Nice pair



In May, all around New Zealand, individuals and businesses get involved in Pink Ribbon Breakfasts. This is the major fund raising opportunity for the  N.Z. Breast Cancer Foundation. Breast cancer is an unfortunate fact of life for many woman but it is not only woman who are affected. A lot of men stand beside their wives, lovers, mothers, sisters, friends and share the fear and trepidation that comes with a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Even the discovery of a lump on a loved ones breast can cause great anxiety, as I can attest from personal experience. Luckily it was nothing serious but the process was enough to give me an understanding of what is is like to wait for the results of tests, the sleepless nights, the what ifs.

Here at Jester House, this is the 5th year we have been supporting this worthy cause, last year raising over $1000. This year we are having our Pink Ribbon weekend on the Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May. Get a group of friends together, get your pink gear on and make a booking for breakfast, or lunch to show your support for this very worthwhile charity, and it is a great way to celebrate life.

Contact us on 03 5266742 or book online www.jesterhouse.co.nz/the-menu . Remember this is not just about woman.