Craggy Central Otago may seem like a world away from the wild West Coast but it certainly has it's own sense of majesty-and we were about to experience a day here dominated by extreme natural beauty and on site adventure.
We began our morning on the pristine Dart River located in the depths of the glorious Mt. Aspiring National Park. Sunrise welcomes us to the tiny hamlet of Glenorchy where we sign on for our tour. What a superb way to discover more about one of my favourite parts of the world! Throughout, the knowledgeable guides keep us well informed of the area's natural, Maori and colonial history while being accompanied by towering peaks, rushing waters and ancient forests. A leisurely drive through Paradise (named after local ducks not the exquisite scenery), an easy stroll through a beech forest topped off with an exhilarating jet boat ride all make for a tour of perfect harmony. It's easy to see why this mysterious location is chosen above all others for many overseas commercials and movies, namely Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
After an al fresco pub lunch we head for our overnight stay in the historic village of Arrowtown. The charming miners' cottages and stone stores provide clues to New Zealand's long ago gold mining history. Wanting to know more we wander through both the excellent Lakes District Museum and the remains of the Chinese miners' settlement down by the tree lined Arrow River.
This quaint town is more than just history-there are wonderful eateries galore and upmarket stores to tempt the tourist and of course empty the wallet!
There's also gentle exercise to enjoy on the network of pretty walking and cycling trails - just perfect for our riverside stroll at sunset. A relaxing end to a superb Central Otago day!
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