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Southern lakes

Arrowtown’s Cultural Gems: Southern lakes

If outdoor pursuits in the bone-chilling Southern Lakes winter are not your bag, take refuge indoors and discover some of the cultural, historic and artistic gems in Arrowtown. You don’t have to wander far off the beaten track – or the main street – to get a decent dose of intellectual and sensory stimulation.

Southern lakes Take a step back in time at Lakes District Museum. Arrowtown is steeped in rich history, thanks to its fascinating goldmining past, and the museum showcases it well. Jane Peasey – who is
responsible for special projects – says it’s an excellent starting point to get an overview of how the area was developed and who and what shaped this quaint town. Throughout the three
heritage buildings there are working displays illustrating early Maori life and the harsh pioneering times that European settlers and goldminers endured. For winter there’s a display of
historic skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating gear and photos. Lakes District Museum also houses an art gallery, bookshop, archives and a busy education programme. Open seven days at 49
Buckingham Street.

 

Nadene Milne Gallery is a calm, peaceful space that provides welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the main street. Operated by two of the most experienced gallerists in New
Zealand, Nadene Milne and Jacinta Byron, it shows many of the most collectible, contemporary artists in the country. Its stable of well-known names includes Judy Millar, Shane Cotton,
Fiona Pardington and Max Gimblett. Having carved out a strong reputation within the industry, the gallery attracts serious art collectors nationwide as well as from overseas. A highlight
this winter will be a presentation of new works by Shane Cotton, due in early July. Nadene Milne Gallery is open 11am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday, at 16 Buckingham Street. For viewings
outside these times, phone 0274 401 665.

 

For a unique experience that is so much more than just a standard trip to ‘the flicks,’ check out Dorothy Browns boutique theatre, bar and bookshop. The atmosphere in the main cinema is all
romantic charm, with floating pink chiffon decorating the walls and glass-beaded chandeliers setting a scene of opulence and sophistication. Cheeseboards and wine glasses are easily
accommodated by the armrests on the huge seats and, if you need more sustenance half-way through the movie, there’s a very handy intermission. The den is a smaller, more cosy environment,
with seating for 20. Screening both mainstream and arthouse films, Dorothy Browns is at 18 Buckingham Street.

 

Blue Moon Rummage is a treasure chest filled with an eclectic mix of furniture, lamps, chandeliers, ornaments, jewellery and rustic clocks made from wine barrel ends. Specialising in
vintage skiing memorabilia, it has an impressive display of vintage skis, snowshoes, cushions, reproduced signs and shirts. Pam Lawrence – who calls herself “Head Rummager” – has owned the
shop for nine years and injects her own quirky style and passion in to the business. She makes regular trips to gift fairs in Canada and the United States so she can hand-pick her favourite
items. Visitors will chuckle over what must be the best collection of witty and naughty gift cards to be found in the Southern Lakes. Find Blue Moon Rummage in The Arcade, Buckingham
Street.

Southern Lakes

An exciting upward trajectory: the Southern Lakes are on the up and up

Adventure capital of the world; winter wonderland; jewel in the tourism crown. The superlatives trip off the tongue when describing the Southern Lakes region, which has long been lauded for its jaw-dropping scenery, adrenalin-inducing activities and fine wine and food.

Southern Lakes

Whether you get your kicks bungy jumping from a great height; hurtling down a river at break-neck speed in a jet boat; sampling a glass of Central Otago pinot noir at a winery; skiing or snowboarding at one of the four mountain resorts; marveling at the majestic waterfalls in Milford Sound or discovering the quaint charm of Arrowtown in all its autumnal glory, it never fails to impress.
With Queenstown and Wanaka leading the charge and neighbouring towns (Te Anau, Cromwell, Arrowtown and Hawea to name just a few) nipping at their heels, the Southern Lakes region is riding a wave of growth and development that shows no sign of abating.
While more and more domestic and international tourists flock to the region and pour money in to the economy, its permanent population is increasing at an unprecedented rate. A number of Cantabrians moved to the area – particularly Wanaka – in the wake of the earthquakes. Others bought baches, or a piece of land with an eye to relocating in future.
Now the rest of New Zealand is following suit. Kiwis are starting to shun the big-city hassles and expense for a better quality of life in the regions, and many of them are choosing the Southern Lakes to live in, holiday in, or do a mixture of both.
Residential and commercial construction is booming as builders and developers frantically try to keep up with demand. Tradesmen are certainly a sought-after commodity in these parts. New subdivisions are coming on to the market thick and fast, with sections at Bridesdale Farm (between Queenstown and Arrowtown), Northlake (Wanaka) and the high-end Bendemeer (near Lake Hayes) being snapped up. Te Anau has also benefited from the Southern Lakes housing shortage as homebuyers and investors have increasingly looked for affordable opportunities there.
Businesses are doing a roaring trade too. The ever-expanding Frankton Flats industrial and retail precinct – handily situated on the main road between Arrowtown and Queenstown – is a hive of activity for both locals and tourists. Five Mile shopping centre, with its supermarket and a range of big-box stores, has filled a much-needed gap. The new kid on the block is Queenstown Central. Billed as ‘a premium retail environment’, stage one is due for completion later this year.
Young workers continue to gravitate to the bright lights of Queenstown and Wanaka to ply their trade in the hospitality, tourism and ski industries – and, of course, to enjoy the nightlife. At the other end of the spectrum, Queenstown Country Club is being built for retirees. With world-class golf courses nearby, lakes and rivers for fly fishing and boating as well as kilometres of mountain biking and walking trails on the doorstep, it’s easy to see the attraction.
Watch this space: Southern Lakes is on an exciting upward trajectory.