My “trip” around New Zealand continues for you all now as I make my way down the South Island of New Zealand.
New Zealand’s South Island hosts the purest natural landscapes you’ll ever experience. And although I love the North Island I definitely am biased when it comes to the “mainland” as the South Island is affectionately known. From wildlife to wineries, from glacial valleys to star-filled skies, nature’s best flourishes against a palette of dramatic scenes.
One such region which I think showcases all of these qualities is Central Otago.
Central Otago is a powerful landscape, sunny, dry and brown with weathered ancient mountains, alpine herb fields and fast flowing rivers. I am spoilt for choice when it comes to some of my favoured activities whenever I visit this magnificent region.
In the 1860s this was a place of gold; you can still pan for it amongst the miners’ old trails, stone cottages and relics of mine machinery.
But the gold today in Central Otago is wine. Pinot Noir, that most fickle of grape varieties, excels in these southernmost vineyards and most of the wineries offer tours and tastings.
I am partial to sampling some of the best the region has to offer while I watch the sun set over the dark blue and green mountain ranges pouring colours of gold, pinks, and purples across the landscape.
The myriad of colours remind me of our beautiful unique Paua Shell with its kaleidoscope of these hues.
Heading further down the South Island of New Zealand we come across the Queenstown region.
The resort town of Queenstown is sophisticated and fantastically scenic. Its lake and mountain landscape is suited to almost any kind of adventure; but Queenstown is just as well-known as a place for indulgence. Each season brings a different energy to Queenstown, summer is all about the great outdoors, hiking, adventure, al fresco dining late into the evening, and long, hot summer days. As the trees transform the Wakatipu Basin with a swathe of gold, red and orange, autumn brings the wine harvest, and the chance to rejuvenate ahead of another exciting season, winter!
There are ski fields just a short drive from Queenstown where both locals and tourists alike can frolic and show their skills. Unfortunately skiing has never been one of my fortes and I seem to spend more time falling over than actually staying upright!
So I would much rather spend my time exploring all that this fantastic region has to offer. One special quaint wee town has definitely become a place I love to spend time.