Grass greener in Otago than Cairns

Last updated 14:09 04/12/2013
Southland Times photo
JO MCKENZIE-McLEAN/Fairfax NZ

Lesley and John Esckmann have left their lives in Australia to open a gallery and gift shop in St Bathans.

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An Australian couple has crossed the ditch to revive the historic St Bathans Post Office.

Lesley and John Ecksmann sold-up in Australia last year, bought a motorhome and tripped around New Zealand looking for somewhere to settle.

They owned a sign-writing business in Cairns but had become disillusioned, Lesley said.

''We were disillusioned with the government and the way business takes over your life. The kids moved out and so did we. We thought we would travel around for 18 months and find somewhere new to live.''

The couple had visited St Bathans several times and ''fell in love with the country,'' John said.

''We had a drink at the pub and met some of the locals. The people were so nice. We had people knocking on our motorhome door giving us venison and honey and we had only been in St Bathans for two days.''

The locals suggested they set up shop in the Post Office, which had been empty since 2007, Lesley said.

The couple opened their gallery and gift shop, as well as a laser engraving and signage business at Labour Weekend.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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