Arrowtown is best known for its fall colors and being an original gold mining town. When gold was first found in Arrowtown, Fifteen hundred miners camped beside the Arrow River and by the end of 1862, 12,000 ounces (340 kgs) of gold were hauled out. That is worth $18 million at today’s prices. Many of the original buildings remain and the town is very quaint, and the fall colors up on the hill and throughout the town were at their peak. From a short drive up a hill above the town you can see the mountain range called the Remarkables, just beyond the downtown area. I just love that name! Makes them sound like superheroes.
We also visited the Kawarau Bridge Bungy. According to AJ Hackett in NZ, “Bungy, as we know it all started with a small group of individuals who have been throwing themselves from huge towers for centuries with nothing more than a few vines tied to their feet – the people of Vanuatu in the Pacific. Land-diving’ on Pentecost Island originated hundreds, perhaps thousands of years ago. Local legend has it that a woman who was repeatedly abused and mistreated by her husband Tamalie ran away from him, only to be caught, time and time again, punished, then given more of the same treatment.
She finally climbed up one of the tallest banyan trees to escape from her husband’s abuse, whilst he followed hard on her heels. When she reached the top she dared him to join her, mocking his cowardice. She then jumped out of the tree, having been smart enough to tie vines to her ankles beforehand. Tamalie, taunted by his wife’s accusations of cowardice and not noticing the vines around her ankles, was astonished to see her land on her feet and threw himself after her – succeeding only in falling to his death.”
“The launch of the Kawarau Bridge Bungy site has been hailed as the birth of adventure tourism in New Zealand, and was integral towards putting New Zealand on the world adventure tourism map, not to mention giving Queenstown its [unofficial] title of ‘The Adventure Capital of the World’”
Smart woman! But, I am not one to want to jump off a bridge. I have, however, jumped out of a perfectly good plane, but that is another story. We stayed to watch 2 people jump and no, I have not changed my mind as a result. What amazed me was that people got on the platform…and jumped. You would think that they would take some time to think about it, but nope. They just jumped right off. Gave me the shivers! We later learned that the guides will put a protective hand on your shoulder and if you hesitate, they give you a gentle push off the platform. Yikes! Then a boat motors over to where you are hanging and they just drop you right in. Hard to be graceful when you are upside down.
Since we are in the Otago Valley and this is Wine Country, we decided we needed some wine to recover from watching the jumps so we head up the road about 5 minutes to Peregrine Wineries. Very delightful winery and we did buy one bottle. This could be a trend if all the wines are this good! They showed us a bottle that they have to create a different name for their wine that is sold in Whole Foods here in the US. There is a Napa Valley Winery with the same name so they had to change theirs to export it.
The grounds here were quite lovely and one of the original buildings on the site remains, but their design of a peregrine wing for a roof over their winery has won numerous awards, and it is a very unique look.
Just a few miles away was another winery, Chard Farm The road you take to get there is one that barely clings to the side of a mountain It is one lane and lined with beautiful trees to give you the illusion that you will not fall off the side. We did not meet anyone else on the road for which I am grateful. Pulling over would have been a challenge!
From the winery, you can see a spectacular view of the Anduin and Argonath (Pillar of Kings). The Pillars were computer generated in the studio but the view here is still awesome. Lord of the Rings is everywhere!
The tasting was delicious and we bought another bottle. Good thing we have a car and time to drink the wine. I brought a small cooler with us to help keep things cool. Did not realize I would be using it for wine. Yum! Have you tried any New Zealand wines?