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Central Heaven

NEW ZEALAND | Wednesday, 11 May 2011 | Views [547]

During Easter I was fortunate enough to hop on the ferry from Wellington to Picton and traverse down the South Island to Alexandra, Central Otago.

Central is renowned for its Autumn splendour with rich reds, yellows and oranges aplenty. There's something very special about the region, a real warmth about it. The landscape is diverse, from its barren bare and cracked high country to its abundant and majestic water scape.

The red rocks and hills around Alexandra are comforting, like a fire. There's a feeling of togetherness and belonging. The impressive Clutha River carved in the middle is equally so. The air is fresh, therapeutic even, and the sky is clean.

Central is very different to its neighbour, the Lakes District. Although both equally beautiful and spectacular in their own right, the Lakes District holds more pretention, more greed. The overwhelming statutes of the Remarkables and the depth and intrigue of the Wakatipu seem to consume the people. I love the place but at the same time it makes me sad. Development is everywhere and it's all about making a buck and satisfying the ego. Not by everyone of course and typically by the 'out-of-towners'. It's a place that serves an artificial, temporary high. Sure it feels great, but it's generally followed by a come-down unless you keep feeding the addiction.

Alexandra, and its surrounds, is more unassuming. There's a down-to-earth attitude there. One of the greatest thing is the appreciation for the arts and crafts and using the land to make an honest living - and a sustainable one. Not developing the land for some over the top holiday home more decadent than the average kiwi's home, but using the land the same as bygones ago to create world class products - fruits and jams, wool (home of merino and 'IceBreaker', wine (pinot especially), cheese, honey (wild thyme), gold...

Central Otago has a lot to be proud of but most of all because it's honest and it's kiwi.

Tags: alexandra, autumn, central otago, easter, merino, queenstown, remarkables

 

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