"Solitary as it stands where the winding road, that follows the pretty Motueka river, joins the highway from Nelson. Kohatu is at a point where the mind of the southbound traveller prepares for the rugged bluffs of the Buller Gorge, leaving the gentle orchards of Tasman Bay behind.
You might be tricked by those big flash bar windows, pseudo shutters and plaster rendering, into thinking that the Kohatu Hotel is a modern building, but the two-story front portion of it is over one hundred years old. What's more, apart from the fascia board with the name lettered on it, and the absence of one chimney, that part has not changed since 1894 when it was built by Harry Bromell. It replaced the Bromell's Hotel which his father Thomas had erected in 1877 in competition, perhaps, with an older accommodation house on the other side of the river. With the opening of the road over the Hope saddle, traffic from Nelson had increased and Thomas had wanted to take advantage of obvious commercial opportunities.
Bromell's became even more important in 1899 when Motupiko station (the name was changed to Kohatu Station in 1906) became the terminus of the Nelson Railway. It was here that the train passengers and freight were transferred to road coaches for the onward journey to Murchison and the Buller. Around then, its name was changed to the Terminus Hotel and what a bustling place it must have been when the trains and coaches met and passengers and horses needed to be fed and watered, accommodated and stabled.
It was from outside Bromell's, too, that Nelson sheep were taken by drovers for sale in Canterbury - a journey that could take almost a month via Tophouse and Hanmer. Drovers like legendary Ern Robinson would have known both the old and new Bromell's Hotels and would have witnessed the coming of the railway and Newman’s transition from horse-drawn transport to motor vehicles.
The railway failed to survive and you'd have to look hard to find any traces of it now, although the old Glenhope Station still stands, twenty-five kilometres south of the Kohatu Hotel. On the other hand, you might find someone in the bar with a long memory!"
- Source: The Good Old Kiwi Pub by Don Donovan (page 56)
What’s on the Menu?
We all love coffee, but with so much variety it can be hard to choose. At Kohatu Flat Rock Café, we are here to help guide you through the flavors and aromas, so you find the special taste that soothes your inner-self.
New Zealand wines
Our fully stocked bar features many New Zealand favourites along with our own special touches.
At Kohatu Flat Rock Café, we provide a relaxing rural atmophere to stop and unwind.
Come sample our new Underground coffee and our new selection of beautiful wines on offer, these are chosen from the best wine growing regions in New Zealand. Whether you are just travelling the road, biking or staying in the area, we invite you to join us for Great Food, Great Wine and Great Coffee.
Tuesday: 8:30Am - 4:30Pm
Wednesday: 8:30Am - 4:30Pm
Thursday: 8:30Am - 4:30Pm
Friday: 8:30Am - 7:30Pm
Saturday: 8:30Am - 4:30Pm
Sunday: 8:30Am - 4:30Pm