Queenstown and Southern Travel Stories blog posts

  •  Green fingered volunteers plant a thousand native seedlings (L – R) Tom Strawbridge (Nelson), Rohan Bhatnagar (India), Jessie Novak & Stephanie Guilford (Hamilton), Martin Langford (Dart River) and Andrew Bloomfield (Australia).

    Volunteers Launch Re-Vegetation Project

    By Travel News
    Tuesday, 30 September 2014

    New Zealand is known for its scenic landscapes and gloriously green wilderness areas, and an increasing number of local tourism operators are taking steps to ensure Aotearoa retains its natural native beauty.

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  •  © © Bridget Gourlay

    In Search of Ghosts and Gold

    By Bridget Gourlay
    Tuesday, 14 February 2012

    If I were a ghost I’d haunt this place, I think as I look around the poky dark rooms of the Vulcan Hotel. Built in 1882 to service a roaring crowd of miners in the town of St Bathans, the pub is almost all that remains of the settlement.

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  • A Zipping Good Time in Queenstown

    By Amelia Norman
    Wednesday, 28 October 2009

    I’m upside down, 25m above the ground, hurtling at 50km per hour through a forest. Hundreds of towering fir trees whip by in a blur. My legs are flailing in the crisp air; hands reaching towards the distant, needle-covered floor...

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  •  Oamaru, Central Otago  © Amelia Norman

    Ordinary Home - Extraordinary Writer

    By Judith Doyle
    Wednesday, 21 October 2009

    For anyone who has been bowled over by the fiction of Janet Frame — New Zealand's most distinguished writer — a visit to her girlhood home in Oamaru is evocative and exciting.

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  •  © Destination Queenstown

    Arrowtown's Wealth of History

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    The hubbub of the small town’s central cafes and boutique shops emits an impression of a modern dwelling, one glance along the schist-laid main street suggests there’s an old tale or two behind this Central Otago settlement.

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  •  A warming weekend in Queenstown

    A Warming Weekend in Queenstown

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    Stepping out of the bus in downtown Queenstown we’re greeted by chilly May darkness. “The sleet,” says our taxi driver, “has only just stopped.” Our breath comes in cloudy white puffs as we trundle up the steps of Peppers Beacon hotel.

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  •  Lee Bay, Stewart Island  © Amelia Norman

    Time for Tales on Stewart Island

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    Be warned: if pressed for time on Stewart Island, don’t speak to the locals. They’re a proud lot, and with one question about the island you could easily miss your boat home.

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  •  Kawarau Jet, Queenstown (Activity)  © Destination Queenstown

    Dodging Ducks: Snippets of a Queenstown Weekend

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 24 September 2009

    We are careering across the water at 85kph towards a tiny, fluffy, mottled yellow duckling. It flails in the water, paddling its miniature feet and bobbing in circles on the swift current.

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  • Climbing the Iron Way: Queenstown's Via Ferrata

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    “Remember: the journey is everything,” says guide Chris Prudden, as our group of eight assembles beneath the hard, flat face of Queenstown Hill on a grey Sunday morning.

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  •  Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown New Zealand

    Ripples of the Past: Kayaking on Lake Wakatipu

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 27 August 2009

    According to Sam de Reeper, there’s “a whole lotta rubies” in the hills above Lake Wakatipu. Sam, our suntanned, dreadlocked kayaking guide, points across sparkling water to the head of the lake...

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  •  Felton Rd Vineyard, Central Otago  © Tourism Central Otago

    The Landscape of Namesakes: Central Otago Wineries

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 6 August 2009

    Mt Difficulty, Lindis River, Dry Gully… The names of Central Otago’s wineries read like a description of the area’s inimitable landscape.

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  • Heli-Rafting the Shotover River

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 2 June 2009

    I’m floating towards a small white light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. I’m nervous. All around me is black. My ears are filled with a rushing sound, getting louder and louder. My heart is beating faster and faster.

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  •  Post Office Bay, Ulva Island.  © Amelia Norman

    Ulva Island: A Southern Sanctuary

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 13 November 2007

    The light is different in here. It’s deeper, mysterious and mottled. The air has changed too; thicker, cooler and scented with the sweet earthiness of New Zealand’s native bush.

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  •  Annette Knowler, Master Storyteller, conducts Twilight Tales Tours around Oamaru's historic precinct.  © Amelia Norman

    The Twilight Tales of Oamaru

    By Amelia Norman
    Monday, 2 July 2007

    In the concrete darkness of Smith’s Grain Store three candles flicker. The shadow of Annette Knowler’s tiny frame morphs into a wavering monster as she passes them.

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  •  Oamaru's historic precinct  © Amelia Norman

    Oamaru Radical

    By Helen Frances
    Monday, 21 August 2006

    Oamaru bookbinder, Michael O’Brien must be one of New Zealand’s most consistently retro dressers. When I wander into his shop in the Oamaru Historic Precinct he is wearing what he calls a pre-tartan kilt (no clan’s tartan)

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  •  © Destination Queenstown

    Arrowtown

    By Karen Goa
    Saturday, 29 July 2006

    Driving into Arrowtown through sun-spanked hills is like stumbling onto an old but good secret.

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  • Pedalling Where Trains Once Thundered: Otago Rail Trail

    By Roy Sinclair
    Thursday, 11 May 2006

    We imagined ourselves pedalling the best part of 150 kilometres down the Otago Central Rail Trail, from Alexandra to Middlemarch, with a moderate nor-wester on our backs.

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  •  Ti kouka, the New Zealand cabbage tree, at Lake Hawea, Southern Lakes District.  © Roy Sinclair

    Lake Hawea

    By Lynn Clayton
    Tuesday, 4 April 2006

    Hawea is many places to many people, some remember living there when the hydro dam was built, some recall carefree childhoods with long summer evenings and auroras that lit up the sky...

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  •  Preservation Inlet weblog Travel Story

    Preservation & Chalky Inlets

    By Lynn Clayton
    Thursday, 23 March 2006

    I normally live a typical Auckland city life... flat whites at my local cafe; art house movies; wines with the girls; cleaning ladies; European cars and a life slightly removed from the one I was about to embark on!

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  •  The Mackenzie Country

    Landscape Just Blue me Away

    By Helen Frances
    Wednesday, 22 March 2006

    It is a searing hot, blue South Canterbury day and this is the first time I have been in the Mackenzie country. You hear stories about the rugged beauty and isolation but none have prepared me for the heat and stark clarity of the light and landscapes.

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  •  St Bathams weblog Travel Story

    St Bathans: An Old Pub & A Ghost

    By Roy Sinclair
    Tuesday, 21 March 2006

    The Vulcan is a wonderful old pub found in a hollow, slightly off the beaten track, in Central Otago. It’s the most lively premises in St Bathans, a town with a population that fails to achieve double figures. Predictably, it’s a sleepy place.

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  •  Hump Ridge weblog Travel Story

    Walking the Hump Ridge Track

    By Judith Doyle
    Friday, 8 October 2004

    'Seven to nine hours tramping on the first day' - that description of the Hump Ridge Track nearly put me off. So I decided to see if there were any sweeteners to this three-day walk which starts about an hour's drive west of Invercargill.

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