In ancient times, those who went off raiding and plundering in ships were said to be ‘going Viking’. These days such behaviour is frowned upon, but Southern Lakes residents can at least dust off their furs and party like they’ve made it to Valhalla (Viking heaven).
An innovative charity fundraiser, The Viking Ball is being held next month to raise money for Upper Clutha Hospice Trust. Wanaka event manager Samantha Stout feels strongly about giving back to her community and has teamed up with Pete and Claire Marshall – owners of high-end venue Corbridge Woolshed – to plan the evening.
“It will be a totally immersive experience, with highly theatrical elements,” Samantha says. “Prepare to be surprised.”
Entertainment includes live music, a fire dancer and actors dressed as Vikings. Without giving too much else away, Samantha reveals that a traditional Viking burial ritual will be re-enacted using the small lake at the venue.
And what to wear to an event that is heavily themed around the seafaring warriors of the late 8th to 11th centuries? Think natural fibres: leather, wool and fur. Samantha suggests people could further support the cause by finding an outfit at the Upper Clutha Hospice Shop in Wanaka.
The Viking Ball is on Saturday 4 August at Corbridge Woolshed, 707 Wanaka-Luggate Highway. Tickets cost $160 per person (10 percent discount available for groups of 10 or more). Email email@example.com or phone 027 931 6003.
The chance to drive the new Ford Endura range around Queenstown earlier this month was a great opportunity to put the five-seater, twin turbo, 2 L performance diesel through its paces on some great terrain.
Winding through the Crown Range to Wanaka, I got a real feel for how smooth the new generation platform will run in New Zealand conditions.
Called the ‘Edge’ in the northern hemisphere, the Endura is an SUV that can provide the power and torque needed for a great drive and will fill an important space in the Ford product range.
Refined and spacious, yet with a very capable boot space, I could see a strong resemblance to the Landover Discovery Sport in both looks and performance, with a price tag starting at $73,990.
The high profile of the bonnet and the 20-inch rims make for appealing eye candy but with an 154kW/450Nm engine and electronic stability program (ESP) that made cornering and drive through very pleasurable on such a challenging drive, it’s much more than just a good looker.
I was going to try it on the rough gravel road to Cardona ski field but was way laid at the Cardona Distillery, a must see when in Otago, testing the orange liqueur, vodka and gin. The silver-lining of this hold up was that I got the opportunity to find out what the passenger experience is like while my companion on the trip drove back.
Key features include leather trim and seating, Apple CarPlay, eight-inch colour touch screen, heated seats – great for those cold Queenstown mornings – and with a great satellite navigation system in such a quiet cabin, you hardly heard the drive. Overall the experience was brilliant; a worthy addition to the Ford line-up and a great option for someone looking for a quality SUV.
Four Southern Lakes ski areas will open soon, heralding a winter of thrills and spills on the slopes. Here’s a taste of what skiers and boarders can expect… after all, it’s all downhill from here.
The Remarkables is extending its learner terrain by a massive 70 percent this season, as well as installing a new conveyor to access the area. Ski Area Manager Ross Lawrence believes this will significantly improve the experience for novice riders. “The learner experience is about progression, so providing another step will get guests feeling even more comfortable and capable as they gradually move up the mountain.”
Remarkables Snow Sports Academy will also continue. The freeski and snowboard development programmes offer season-long and school holiday courses for children aged 6-18. For those who love jumps and bumps, there are extensive freestyle features across three dedicated terrain parks. The Remarkables is a 40-minute drive from Queenstown and three-quarters of the road is now sealed.
Coronet Peak offers the longest skiing hours in the Southern Lakes. Mornings start with First Tracks, when earlybirds can watch the sun rise as they glide down freshly-groomed trails against the backdrop of panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu. As twilight arrives, families and friends can catch up over a pizza or burger, watch the sun go down and take to the slopes under lights.
“People love night skiing – it’s a magical and fun experience,” Ski Area Manager Nigel Kerr says. “And it’s extremely convenient at just 20 minutes from downtown Queenstown.” This winter, night skiing runs three times a week, with Wednesday added to Friday and Saturday nights. “We have key events teed up for our guests to enjoy, bringing some well-known and loved DJs and bands to Coronet.”
Treble Cone is renowned for its unmatched terrain and leg-burning vertical, new General Manager Toby Arnott says. “To complement this, visitors can expect a fresh approach to the Treble Cone experience; wide open, uncrowded terrain, and short lift queues,” he says.
It has a northwest-facing learners’ and beginners’ area, so it’s bathed in sunshine and warmth all season. For hard-core types wanting advanced terrain, Saddle Basin and Summit Slopes offer plenty of challenges with open powder faces, natural half-pipes and fun drops. New for 2018 is a Snow Shoe Experience, which includes a scenic chair ride to the top of the ski area; snowshoe and equipment rental, and a fully-guided walk with a qualified instructor.
Cardrona Alpine Resort is handily situated between Wanaka and Queenstown. It has three wide, open basins featuring some of New Zealand’s most progressive terrain and promises that every family member will find a favourite trail. It also boasts New Zealand’s only gondola cabin-style lift on a ski area, McDougall’s Express Chondola.
Spokesperson Jen Houltham predicts “another epic season” this year. “Highlights of the 2018 winter up at Cardrona will be the Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival; the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ, and the Jossi Wells Invitational,” she says.
The team at Casa Construction has had a big year already. A brand refresh, launched in March, has helped to position the business for expansion down south to Wanaka. Now with the Master Builder awards in full swing, Casa is focussed on completing more houses that are as beautiful and well-crafted as this year’s entry, titled ‘Light Luxury’.
Light Luxury is perched delicately on the Cashmere Hills, with broad sweeping views of the city and beyond through its industrial height windows.
The house itself is simple yet it is the details – courtesy of architect Thom Craig – that set it apart. The Casa team worked collaboratively with both client and architect to deliver the finishes required to ensure those aforementioned details, would sing.
Attention to the details is a particular passion of the Casa team. Managing Director, Jeff Root says, “anyone can build a house but it’s the hundred little things that we do differently that turn a house into a home”.
The team knows that when collaborating with architects this catch phrase becomes even more important. “Our architect partners have a vision. It’s our job to take that vision, fit it to the client’s budget and help realise the dream in the best way possible.”
The 2018 Master Builder Awards for Canterbury will be announced in July, with National awards announced in November. While the Casa team wait for their results, they will begin to apply their gold standard building practices to their first architecturally designed home, on the outskirts of Wanaka.
For more information, go to
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.
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.
It’s going to be a big year for the Casa Construction team. With Wanaka’s population continuing to grow, Casa Construction has decided to start operating across the area, beginning early 2018.
Casa will primarily focus on residential new builds, working with local architects and building teams to deliver beautifully crafted homes.
Working in Wanaka has been a long-term dream for Casa Construction Director, Jeff Root. “A number of our clients either have holiday homes or are looking to move down that way. We’re delighted to be able to work with them on their new projects down there.”
Both construction activity and costs are expected to continue to increase in the broader Wanaka area, yet these challenges have not deterred the team. A number of innovations in supply chain, sourcing and team management are being considered to ensure the award-winning Casa Construction team can continue to exceed client and architect expectations.
Jeff adds, “It’s exciting to be able to bring something a little different to the market. There are a number of good operators down there already. We’re looking forward to the challenge of delivering the Casa promise of being on-time and within budget while maintaining the highest quality construction experience possible.”
The Casa team will kick off its Wanaka venture with projects in Hawea and West Wanaka. The team will be led by Jeff who will commute fortnightly, as well as a lead construction manager on the ground.
Casa Construction will continue operations in Christchurch alongside the new Wanaka venture.
For more information, contact Jeff Root on 021 460 670 or go to our website
A couple’s wedding day is arguably the holy grail of any possible event. The true definition of a celebration, each and every detail comes together to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Behind the glitz and glamour of the day itself, are key essentials fundamental to the success of the day. Few would know this better than Dakins Group, a true specialist in the sanitation industry.
In a stroke of irony, Dakins has taken the concept of sanitation and made it into something extremely stylish – an impressive feat! Offering everything from single unit portaloos to luxury facilities, guests can enjoy posh practicalities.
The business is justly proud to be the owner of the South Island’s largest selection of 20-foot and 40-foot portable toilet and bathroom blocks cementing its place as the region’s foremost supplier to large scale events.
The pride and joy of the fleet is a state-of-the-art New Zealand-built deluxe men’s and women’s bathroom block called the ‘Sheraton’ with contemporary vanity areas, full-length mirrors, hand lotion and even hair straighteners for that special touch.
“Throughout any event all our facilities are monitored by service technicians charged with keeping everything in pristine condition. We know that every event is judged on the quality of its portable toilet facilities,” owners Diane Dakin and Jay Ritchie say.
Able to take an event’s sanitation needs from conception through to creation, the highly ambitious and skilled Dakins team members offer impressive expertise. They can take care of the small details from the necessary planning and implementation right through to staffing.
Services are now available in Wanaka and Queenstown. To discuss facilities for your event, contact the Dakin Group on
03-384 9100 or 0800 325 467, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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