One of NZ's finest road trips becomes an official touring route
Three Otago mayors today launched the Central Otago Touring Route at a celebration held at the mid-way point in the journey – Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead in Oturehua.
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan, Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins and Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult, exchanged a stone from their respective areas as a symbol of the interconnected history of the region and the unique diversity of the landscapes, before jointly declaring the route open.
To help set the scene for the touring route, there were vehicles on display from local classic vintage cars to and Haydon Paddon’s brand new EV rally car. Also on hand were local wineries, Misha’s and Scott Base, plus local catering company Moreish Kitchen – with a feast of local flavours. Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead was open for people to explore this unique window into New Zealand’s inventive rural past.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency recognised the significance of the route when it signed off the proposal for it to become an official ‘Touring Route’ in October. As part of the development of the route, pathfinding signage is in the process of being installed, additional viewing points have been established and storyboards are being developed to install at key points along the journey. A key consideration for the development of the route was for it to be EV friendly. To achieve this Chargenet has recently installed two additional charging points – one in Omakau and one in Middlemarch thereby ensuring an anxiety-free EV journey throughout the route.
“A touring route has long been a vision for Central Otago communities and seeing that vision come to life is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when regions collaborate on a project,” said Tourism Central Otago General Manager Dylan Rushbrook. “When we look at other touring routes (the connecting Southern Scenic Route for example) it is clear there are economic, cultural and social benefits for the many communities along the journey. Having an officially recognised and marketed touring route is a great way for us to inspire people to explore further and in more depth, those places and diverse authentic experiences the three partner regions have to offer. And we know that New Zealanders love a good road trip.”
The Central Otago Touring Route is a 341km journey through dramatic landscapes full of natural wonders, unique attractions and activities – along with typically warm local welcomes. It travels from the Pacific Ocean at Otepoti/Dunedin to the foot of the Southern Alps at Queenstown. Leaving the Octagon in Dunedin, it winds through the heart of Central Otago taking in Middlemarch, Ranfurly, Oturehua, Alexandra, Clyde, Cromwell and Arrowtown before arriving in downtown Queenstown. A new website (www.centralotagotouringroute.co.nz) and brochure have been developed with content designed to encourage people to slow down and enjoy all sorts of activities, places to see and rewarding detours along the way. Tourism Central Otago and Enterprise Dunedin also worked with local Chatto Creek resident Matt Chisholm to set the scene for the journey introducing some of the characters you may meet along the way – check it out below!