Though the owners at Raetihi's Angel Louise Cafe are new they are far from starters when it comes to knowing their way around kitchens.

Both Lyn and Garry Griffin-Chapel are chefs with experience of in-catering and catering out.

Their last gig was with the New Zealand Army catering corps at Waiouru.

"We just felt we needed to move into our own house and really settle down. So we moved into Raetihi,'' Lyn said.

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Not only did they buy their house in Raetihi township and take over the cafe, they have also set up an accommodation-style ski lodge.

They have two spaces for guests to stay, Lyn said - a cottage and a cottage/tree house.

The tree-house cottage is built in and around a large tree.

"It sleeps two and has a private outdoor bath. People love it.''

The cafe opens seven days from 7am to 4pm, with a pizza night on Saturdays.

"The local community here are lovely and we're always busy with travellers passing through every day and dropping in for their lattes.''

People travelling through to Auckland are regulars, Lyn said.

"Some of them are often travelling through from Wanganui.

"And they always say they love Wanganui because the people are always smiling.''

The cafe has been a popular daytime eatery and opening one night a week as well means it gives locals somewhere to dine in Raetihi instead of having to drive to Ohakune for dinner.

There is also a summer feature of a large, attractive outdoor area, with gardens and trees, to dine out in.

Though things can become very quiet when the Parapara Rd closes because of slips, it soon picks up again, she said.

It is a happy place to be. "We are really enjoying life here.''