New Zealand really is an amazing place. In the space of just a few days we travelled from the almost tropical feeling of Golden Bay area in February to pass through the craggy mountain ranges of Mackenzie Country and find ourselves in Central Otago for March. Along the way we were reminded that it is the ever changing landscape of New Zealand and its people which makes it oh so special.
Bannockburn just outside of Cromwell was our base for most of March. This is an area that we knew very little about, as it had been fifteen years since we were last in this location. Last time was spent mostly by the lake whereas this time we got into the hills for some epic views.
The whole area around Cromwell was once gold fever territory. It was this fever in the late 1800's and early 1900's which helped to shape, quite literally, the land around the area. Nowhere is this more evident than a walk through the Bannockburn Sluicings where, on a sunny day, it felt like we were walking in Monument Valley USA. However, this landscape was caused by large scale water blasting to release the gold.
During other walks we came across various ruins from the gold mining days where new settlements such as Carricktown, Logantown and Welshtown were set up in the hills. Today you can walk through the ruins of these old towns and get some understanding of what it may have been like to live there through information boards at strategic points thanks to the Department of Conservation.
Today though this area is better known for its delicious soft fruit crops through a plethora of orchards and some stunning wines through a seemingly endless of carpet of vineyards .....you definitely won't go hungry or thirsty in this area ;-)
This month was a month for new friends. We met Anna from the Bannockburn Hotel which does the most amazing food and a wine list that could make you giddy....over 200 of them to choose from! We also made new friends with Bill and Jenny who were our hosts for most of the month on their property, which has incredible views right over the top of Cromwell and up Lake Dunstan, a stunning location with wonderful people. In fact we had such a great time that we will be back there again through June and July enjoying the beauty of the Central Otago winter which should make for some spectacular photographic opportunities.
April and May will find us back among friends and family in Canterbury as various events need us to be in the area.