Since the first days of European settlement in Dunedin, the Brighton Boat Hire Company has been operating on the gently flowing Otokia Creek leading from Brighton Beach near Dunedin to a mellow hinterland. Believed to have been established in the 1860s, it is by far the oldest business of its kind in New Zealand. After a period when the business was closed, it has now reopened with four of the original row boats again offering families a short trip on the water. These sturdy little vessels, maned Jane, Mabel, Alice and Betty are joined by a small number of canoes and kayaks. There have been times over the years when the business faced difficulties caused by the build up of sand bars at the creek’s entrance. During these times, the shed and boats were left high and dry but hard work and mother nature eventually allowed the water to flow again and the boats were back in business. I remember as a small child being taken, along with my sister, to Brighton to have a row. There was always a queue of people waiting for a boat to become available as it was a popular destination for Dunedin families to take their kids for the afternoon. A return trip up to the end of the creek can take up to 2 hours return, with natural bush, native birds and a wetlands to see along the way. It’s amazing to think with all the electronic attractions for kids these days that old fashioned wooden boats still have a fascination but I guess it’s a unique experience to actually use physical strength to move an object you sit in. It is also a pleasant way to get out into nature and enjoy a ride on water that is both safe and a rewarding experience as well. read more