AN INCREDIBLE FORGOTTEN WORLD ADVENTURES EXPEDITION TOUR FOR TWO VALUED AT $1345 PER PERSON!
Forgotten World Adventures offers the best way to see the raw beauty and history of New Zealand. Their twoday tour, The Expedition, is a three-part journey that will have you riding to the Republic of Whangamomona in a custombuilt rail cart through 20 tunnels and gorgeous countryside. The next day, you’ll enjoy a spectacular helicopter flight over the Whanganui National Park to the iconic Bridge to Nowhere, followed by a jetboat ride on the Whanganui River, exploring historical sites and remote landscapes on the longest commercial jet-boat tour in the Southern Hemisphere.
North & South has two trips on The Expedition with Forgotten World Adventures to give away. Each prizewinner will receive a two-day adventure package for two that includes an 80km journey on a rail cart, a 25km helicopter ride and a 110km jet-boat ride on the Whanganui River. The trip includes dinner, breakfast, lunch, morning and afternoon teas, and a night’s accommodation at the Whangamomona Hotel. Winners must make their own way to Taumarunui.
Simply visit noted.co.nz/win. Enter your name, address and contact details – and you’re in the draw to win a trip for two on The Expedition, a Forgotten World Adventures tour.
Central Otago’s wide blue skies, crimped mountain ranges and tawny plains are a palette apart from the rest of our relatively green isles. When early Maori burned off the forests, the inland region’s dry climate halted regeneration, and tussock took over the massive swathe of gold-bearing schist.
Across these grand, art-inspiring landscapes, human settlements resemble oases, their stonefruit orchards, vineyards and poplar shelters popping out alongside the weathered tors. Today, around 18,500 locals have followed the footsteps of the hardy pioneers who, in the 1860s, were lured here with the promise of gold.
A multitude of miners’ relics and ruins remain: the headstone on an anonymous grave at Millers Flat that reads, “Somebody’s darling lies buried here”; Alexandra’s aptly named Shaky Bridge, an 1879 suspension bridge that’s still open, if only to foot traffic; the sundried mud-brick of St Bathans’ old buildings, which date back to the 1880s. The Blue Lake, below the tiny village at St Bathans, was once the deepest mining hole in the Southern Hemisphere; when mining stopped, it filled with water, which took its colour from the mineral content of the surrounding moonscape cliffs.
Gold has since been usurped by pinot noir; cellar doors have opened across the region, inviting you to taste for yourself the vintners’ luck. The otherwise-fickle grape variety thrives on the free-draining soils and the dry, continental climate, which sees summer temperatures surpass Auckland’s, some 1000km north. Winters are another story: the country’s lowest temperature, an icy -25.6°C, was recorded in the Central Otago town of Ranfurly in July 1903.
The region’s other claim to fame is the Otago Central Rail Trail. The 152km horseshoe-shaped track between Clyde and Middlemarch is a dream, with its car-free gradual inclines, historic lodgings and lively cafes and eateries. If you want to keep biking, or if you’re pressed for time, try the Roxburgh Gorge Trail, a one-day adventure following the Clutha River through a hidden gorge from Alexandra to the Roxburgh hydro dam; you can add a jaunt on a jet boat. There’s also the Clutha Gold Trail, a two-day trip that picks up where the Roxburgh Gorge Trail ends, continuing on to Lawrence.
Local settlements – some little more than a petrol station and a lost-in-time pub – have a charm of their own. In towns like Alexandra and Naseby, curling, ice skating and lugeing are popular pastimes, not novelty sports. Ranfurly is New Zealand’s other art- deco capital. Many shops and homes were rebuilt during the 1930s after a series of suspicious fires; the former milk bar now houses an art- deco museum, and there’s an annual art- deco festival.
You can also fish for trout, or hike the hills around Roxburgh where, 151 years ago, Joseph Tamblyn first planted the Roxburgh Red apricot after buying a few fruit trees from a passing swagman.