Central Otago is at the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand – best access is via Dunedin, but easily found on a South Island Tour.
It is a rich historic gold mining area which used to have a train connecting its small communities. The train tracks have long since gone, replaced with one of the best cycling trails in New Zealand – The Otago Rail Trail.
The Otago Rail Trail is literally a cycle from pub to pub – in a huge high country landscape, it should be on any ones bucket list – even if you just cycle a small section of the trail. This is what I did recently and combined the trip with Curling – a scottish stone throwing on ice tradition, and a four wheel drive tour. I have also done the whole trail with a group of friends. Follow the link below for more stories
If you are planning to visit New Zealand Spend some time in Central Otago!
Bushwise Women have a sea kayaking trip in the Bay of Islands, Northland New Zealand February 2011 with a few spaces – I am keen to go, but we need a few more – what about joining us? Information here
Lisa Pollen writes in the The Travel Editor
Lime Tree Lodge, Wanaka, New Zealand
Lime Tree Lodge is as sweet as its name suggests. Located just outside the adventure paradise of Wanaka, in the South Island, it’s so incredibly pretty I feel as though I should be wearing my most summery, flowery sundress and have petals in my hair as I skip through the front door.
I’m already on top of the world after the most spectacular drive yet during my trip to New Zealand – and there’s stiff competition. The journey down the West Coast from the glaciers, then inland through the Haast Pass, Mount Aspiring National Park and down towards the Southern Alps encompassed four hours of thrilling alpine scenery and magnificent lakes, all sprinkled with a generous dose of sunshine. Lime Tree Lodge is the icing on the cake after our adventures, which took us through steep gorges and lush rainforest, past racing rivers and waterfalls. It could easily have taken twice as long had we have stopped at even a fraction of the photo-worthy opportunities.
But enough about the drive. Now we have reached our home for the next couple of nights, set in 10 acres of land just minutes outside the relaxed, lakeside resort of Wanaka. It was built as a lodge in 2002 and taken over by Sally Carwardine and Rebecca Butts in 2004, who are gracious, welcoming hosts. Our room is named the Linden Suite after the Linden, or lime tree. It is spacious and elegantly decorated with crisp linens, fresh flowers and billowing white curtains that beckon you through French doors onto a small private terrace. There’s a good bathroom stocked with delectable Linden Leaves toiletries and we find homebaked chocolate cookies and local cheese thoughtfully placed in our fridge. In the modern, large communal lounge there’s an open fire and shelves stacked with Home & Garden magazines, books, CDs and DVDs which you can take to your room.
The lodge wouldn’t be out of place in Provence, and that’s where I’m reminded of as I sip a glass of chardonnay on the terrace and admire neat rose and lavender scented gardens, where white butterflies flutter and bees rummage for pollen. Smartly trimmed hedges form a wall around a swimming pool and shaded hot tub. But the snow capped Alps in the distance assure me I’m in New Zealand’s South Island and haven’t been transported to the South of France. Sally and Rebecca makes guests feel at home and are only too happy to advise on local attractions and restaurants, but they are also discreet and leave us to our own devices, which we are grateful for. We take a dip in the pool and play at being Tiger Woods (minus the transgressions) on the lodge’s five-hole pitch-and-putt golf course. He’d be sure to appreciate the on-site helipad, too.
In the evening we meet the handful of other guests – there are only six rooms in all – over a complimentary aperitif before heading into town. Dinner at Missy’s Kitchen is excellent, and we happily tuck into seafood followed by sirloin steak and venison while ooh-ing and aah-ing at the breathtaking lake and mountain views. I can also recommend the Trout Bar for a tasty, informal lunch, and Botswana Butchery, where we dined on our second night. My whitebait to start, simply fried with garlic, chilli and lemon was superb, and eye fillet steak practically melted in the mouth. Exceptional ambience, flawless service; I was extremely impressed.
In the morning, our hosts back at the lodge serve us poached eggs – from their own hens, of course – and bacon outside on the sunny terrace, accompanied by Rebecca’s delicious homemade tomato chutney, and they direct us on a walk to Diamond Lake. It’s a 15-minute drive out of town and then a steep, challenging walk up to a lookout point, but it’s well worth the effort as we’re rewarded with such jaw-dropping scenery. The stuff dreams are made of, as is the entire experience of staying at Lime Tree Lodge.
Picture yourself swilling wine in a hot tub at the end of an invigorating day’s bush hike, or relaxing in a country pub having biked the classic Otago Rail Trail, or taking a dip in the turquoise waters of the glorious Abel Tasman after sea kayaking to a golden beach…
do these things sound like something you would like to experience? Well, read on, because your prayers have finally been answered!
As busy women we often have a myriad of (often feeble) excuses why we don’t do things for ourselves. But let’s face it: there is never an excuse good enough for not doing something positive for yourself – like taking a well-deserved short break somewhere!
Venus Adventures – Trips for Women – is now offering a range of short breaks within New Zealand (and Europe) for women who, well, just need a break! The breaks include anything from culture to adventures, and are always a lot of fun, and the website is a one-stop shop for short breaks for women.
The idea behind women-only trips is to help women escape their everyday roles and routines as busy mums, wives or workers, and to get away with the girls and have some fun!
“More and more women are realizing the importance of getting away from it all and letting someone else do all the organizing for a change”; says Julie Paterson, founder and owner of Venus Adventures Trips for Women. “Women naturally bond and network easily. Doing a trip which gets you out of your comfort zone a little is easier in a supportive women’s group. It’s a great environment in which to try new things. But, depending on the trip, we also indulge in fun things like spas and a little retail-therapy! Age also doesn’t matter as long as the spirit is there!”
All you have to do is get yourself to the trip starting point and all the rest is taken care of. So what are you waiting for? Your next adventure is just a mouse click away…for more information visit www.shortbreaksforwomen.com.
By Julie Paterson
Venus Adventures – Trips for Women
Enter yourself…. We can dream!!
Doubtless Bay is touted as the ‘ultimate absolute beachfront’ destination in Northland. It was autumn, and past swimming for me – but it is still a beautiful time to walk and explore, and the weather was crisp and clear.
Carrington Resort is one of NZ’s luxury destinations – now with the Heritage Hotel chain it is set on the magical Karikari Peninsula. Its lovely low level traditional buildings are clustered on a knoll overlooking the golf course. We were welcomed warmly by Marara in reception and soon found we could borrow a golf cart and drive out to the beach – which of course we did. Read more
New Zealand’s Topp Twins – are our much loved and fabulous home grown comedy and musical treasures. Instantly recognisable by most kiwis, they have taken their unique brand of humour, music and activism to small towns around New Zealand and to shows around the world. Read more
I can not believe I have been home in Waipu for over a month, the time has flown. What a fabulous time to be here in Northland New Zealand - it is balmy clear weather, the sea is warm and inviting, the beach is still mostly empty, there are waves to frolic in, the dog still swims and catches waves with me and Waipu is still one of the best little places in the world. Read more