All it takes is a group of dedicated locals, hundreds of volunteer hours and the kiwi dream lives on. I personally want to pay homage to the Mount Somers District Citizens Group and their amazing Domain Campground.
Cycling into a head wind around a 96 km sealed road circuit is not my idea of a fun afternoon out - cross country mountain biking at a leisurely pace is far more my style. However, on the 11th January 2015 I was happy to act as unofficial photographer and support crew for a few friends that had decided to take on the Lake Dunstan Challenge.
Starting in Cromwell, the pack of lycra clad sadists followed an anti-clockwise route around the lake passing though Northburn and Tarras, before cycling through Luggate and heading back to the Cromwell Sports Club. Read on to learn a little more about the race, the Tour De France visitor, and other annual sporting events run by the Cromwell Promotions Group.
Being greeted by the smell of candyfloss, venison burgers and horse poo says, “you’ve arrived” at an Agricultural & Pastoral Show. This year marked the 100th anniversary of the Lake Hayes A & P Show, and over 4000 people turned up to celebrate.
Set in the Wakatipu Basin, not far from Arrowtown, I think it’s got one of the world’s most picturesque show arenas and is the ideal location to celebrate all things country and the world of “lifestylers” (those townies that want to have a go a running a mini farm). Read on to learn more about the events, animals and people that made the day a success.
Crafty Markets and Cherry Spitting - Central Otago’s Farmers Market and Inaugural Cromwell Cherry Festival 2015
Visiting Old Cromwell Town is a bit like being transported to an heirloom country and western set on the back blocks of Universal Studios. Thanks to some clever Cromwellian locals, a construction team with an eye for historic detail created an impressive replica Main Street. This ensured that all was not lost when Lake Dunstan flooded out the original town and Meeting of the Waters to feed the Clyde hydro dam.
Today, the historic gold mining precinct boasts modern eateries, craft and gift shops spread along the lake shore. And, every Sunday from labour weekend through to the end of February the historic precinct hosts the Central Otago Farmers Market. As an added bonus on the first weekend in January, it was game on for cherry spitting and pie eating competitions at the inaugural Cromwell Cherry Festival. Read on to find out what happened in 2015.
All the best boutique wineries from Central Otago were primed to prove their worth at the 2015 Old Cromwell Wine & Food Festival. Going early and hunting down the shade was mandatory in my world, especially since it's early January and I'm 34 weeks pregnant.
Despite Old Cromwell Town's proximity to Lake Dunstan and being flanked by mountain ranges with decaying snow patches, if it wasn’t for the McNaulty family’s historic fruit trees I think I would have melted! Sadly, the pregnant status also meant I got to watch everyone else savour their vino, while I sipped on ginger beer and homemade lemonade.
Read on to find out more about what was on offer: wine, food and music.
Archery at 'Have a Shot' Wanaka
If you don’t feel like heading into the hills, or sticking your snout in a latte in town, there are lots of activities around Wanaka worth investigating. Geoff and I discovered that thanks to some inspired entrepreneurs there is way more to Wanaka than stunning scenery.
We started our day at Have a Shot. I wanted to show off my archery instructing skills and Geoff felt like going a little aristocratic with the clay pigeon shooting. Pride comes before a fall I guess, because after minimal training Geoff outshot me, and he was a dab hand at deconstructing clay pigeons!
Matai Falls: The Catlins
Most visitors to the Catlins explore the rugged coastline with its rocky outcrops, caves, lighthouses and wild critters. On our second day in this forgotten corner of New Zealand, Geoff and I decided to turn away from salty flavoured activities and head inland to hunt for waterfalls. Technically, there are over 70 waterfalls along the Catlins coast and we decided to visit the big three: Purakaunui Falls, Matai Falls and McLean Falls.
Greenstone River - Glenorchy NZ
The weekend family trip to the new Greenstone hut reminded me that tramping is not always about scaling peaks or stomping long tracks. Sometimes, moving at a slower pace, seeing the ‘wanderlust’ on ‘newbies’ faces and hanging out with some ‘younguns’ can be an experience in itself.
Jill and Ray were our ‘Camp Mum and Dad’ for the weekend and somehow they kept all 17 trampers relatively organised. Having taken the van to the trailhead on Friday night and pitched our tents, on Saturday morning we walked along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and headed inland towards Lake Rere.
Shauna @ Sam Summers Hut
Queenstown, in Central Otago, has just over 27,500 permanent residents and accommodates an astounding 1.9 million visitors every year. Known for its commercially orientated tourism industry, on the surface, it seems that the town has been designed for adrenalin thrill seekers, snow enthusiasts, and wine connoisseurs. However, there is a lot more to Queenstown than bungy jumping, snow sports and a 24/7 nightlife.
Ten kilometres along the Glenorchy Road is the start of the Mt Crichton walkway. I went on an adventure Shauna and Gareth Roughley of Roughley Originals Photography and Leah of Leah Travels. We discovered that you can stroll past the remnants of a Chinese gold mining village, wander through a sluiced canyon, and after 45 minutes walking through the forest, explore a fully restored gold miners hut.
AOK Social Riders at Taiaroa Head
Queenstown and Central Otago tend to steal the limelight when it comes to mountain biking in the South Island. Yet, over the last five years, there has been a quiet revolution in Dunedin. A new track network has stretched out across the city landscape and there are now rides for all abilities, from tough nut dirt jumpers to weekend cruisers.