Reliving Muscular Racing Glory – Highlands Festival of Speed & Classic Car Weekend
Whether your passions include classic cars and vintage racing, or you just enjoy a really good day out with amazing atmosphere, then it’s time to book your tickets for the 2017 Highlands Festival of Speed & Classic Car Weekend. Instead of high-tech modern vehicles, spectacular Classic Cars will be throwing off their protective covers and coming out of storage to re-live their racing glory.The hugely popular ENZED Central Muscle Cars are back again, with a full field ready to wow the crowd! They are joined this year by Pre 65 Racing, who are also bringing a full grid to add to the old school racing feel for this year’s Highlands Festival of Speed. With Highlands own categories, of modern and nostalgic classics, historic saloons and single-seaters the weekend is shaping to be one of the best yet!
Ticket prices to be confirmed, children under 16 are free when accompanied by an adult. The important thing to remember is that once you enter the gate there is a wide range of free activities. Ride the Hop on Hop off bus around the entire facility and visit the Jurassic Safari Park, great for the kids and spectacular viewing. There are also the free grid walks, free pit access and free kids activities, as well as a free vehicle show with over 100 vehicles!
Lock in your great weekend of classic racing and family fun, and get your tickets now – either pre-purchase from TicketDirect or from the Highlands Museum. An entire weekend of family-friendly action, right on your doorstep!
Crank Cycles Bannockburn Mountain Bike Classic December 30th, 2016
If you survive the festive season and feel like you might have over-indulged a little; or, want to get the jump on the inevitable New Year’s resolution to being more active….Why not enter you tribe in the Crank Cycles Bannockburn Mountain Bike Classic? This is a race designed to accommodate everyone from young’uns on their first mountain bike to those who filled their Christmas stocking with a custom made carbon fibre feat of engineering. You can choose from one of three courses: Classic Ride – 35 km, Sport Ride 22 km or Recreation Ride 10 km. Each is a mixture of off road tracks, metal and sealed road riding.
Race Director Bill Godsall says “it’s ideal for families; they can explore the Bannockburn Hills, enjoy the views, then enjoy a pub meal at the ‘Bannie’ afterwards.” The truly great thing about this race is that it starts from the Bannockburn Hotel at 4 pm. This means as long as you can get your registration in before the race briefing at 3.30 pm; you can spend most of the day out on Lake Dunstan, play golf or simply enjoy the Central Otago sunshine.
Crank Cycles is Cromwell’s newest and only bike shop. Nigel Lines will be providing spot prizes on the day and if you want your bike serviced or need any extra biking gear be sure to drop in the Cromwell Mall.
The Crank Cycles Bannockburn Mountain Bike Classic forms part of the A1 Homes Cromwell Summer Series that includes the Cromwell Half-Marathon, Pub to Pub Bannockburn Gutbuster, Lake Dunstan Duathlon/Triathlon and Lake Dunstan Round the Lake Cycle Challenge.
For more information about the Crank Cycles Bannockburn Mountain Bike Classic go to www.cromwell.org.nz/events or register online click here.
Your 2016 Cromwell Wine and Food Festival Survival Guide
The Cromwell Wine and Food Festival is being held in McNulty’s Garden in the Old Cromwell Heritage Precinct on Saturday the 2nd January from 3pm -8pm. If you are a foodie fanatic or lover of vino, this is the event for you. Forget the lycra and cycles brigade! This event is all about dusting off your picnic blanket and sun umbrella and settling in for a good dose of gastronomic happiness. In order to gain full enjoyment from your Festival experience, once you have paid your $15 entry fee and acquired your complimentary wine glass it is important that you scrutinise the event map. Over a dozen of Cromwell’s best boutique vineyards will be there and some don’t have a cellar door. So, this is your annual opportunity to sample the best of Central Otago’s distinctive Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and other speciality wines.
Each winery has its own story to tell, some have been around for decades while others are still in their infancy. Some have branched out into different beverages such as port or liquor and some producers have even achieved Biogro Organic NZ certification. The new addition to the line-up this year is the team from Scott Base who have recently re-opened their tasting room Space @ The Base.
Foodie purists will not be disappointed with the range of edible delights on offer. You will be able to find everything from café food and professionally poured coffee to sushi and pita bread. The littlest members of the community can have an ice cream from Mr Whippy and enjoy their own face painting experience.
If you haven’t already, it’s definitely time to find your picnic chairs, blanket and sun umbrella and get your tribe ready for this year’s Cromwell Wine and Food Festival on the 2nd of January. For more information, go to www.cormwell.org.nz/events.
Talking the Pulse on Your Training Build: A1 Summer Series Lake Dunstan Triathlon & Duathlon 2nd Jan 2016
The Lake Dunstan Triathlon has been carefully designed to accommodate most people and their sporting preferences. If you are an elite athlete you can use the Category 1 Long Course Triathlon to take the pulse on your training programme for the Wanaka Challenge or Coast to Coast. If you are a first timer you might like to try the Category 2 Short Course Triathlon. Those who don’t like to swim can do a kayak, and those who don’t like the water can stay dry by competing in the Duathlon. You can also enter each category as either an individual or a team.
The event forms part of the A1 Homes Cromwell Summer Series that includes the Cromwell Half-Marathon, Pub to Pub Bannockburn Gutbuster, Crank Cycles Bannockburn Mountain Bike Classic and Lake Dunstan Round the Lake Cycle Challenge. Bill Godsall, the event’s Race Director believes that the success of the event is based on the supportive atmosphere, “it’s not only the elite athletes that turn up on the day, there are lots of people that are out to ‘have a go’, which is what the A1 Homes Series is all about,” says Godsall.
The boat ramp adjacent to the toilets in McNulty Inlet is the central transition point for the race and registration will be from 8.30 am and the race briefing at 9.15 am. Parking, refreshments and social facilities will be available at the Lake Dunstan Boat Club at the opening of the Inlet.
The race categories are as follows:
TRIATHLON Category One: Swim 300m, road cycle 22.4km and run 5.8km.
TRIATHLON Category Two: Kayak 5.5km, road cycle 22.4km and run 5.8km.
DUATHLON: Run 3km, road cycle 22.4km, run 5.8km
Even if you aren’t going to compete, it’s worth going along to sit under a willow tree and show your support as the Lake Dunstan Triathlon competitors charge on by. For more information, go to www.cromwell.org.nz/events or to register online click here.
Time to get Hoicking for a Central Otago Community Event! Are you on form for the 2016 Cromwell Cherry Festival?
Visiting the Old Cromwell Historic Precinct is a bit like being transported back to the gold rush days of the 1870’s. Today, the historic gold mining precinct boasts modern eateries, craft and gift shops spread along the lake shore. Every Sunday from Labour Weekend through to Easter the historic precinct also hosts the Central Otago Farmers & Crafts Market. As an added bonus on the first weekend in January, it will also be game on for the cherry spitting and pie eating competitions at 2016 Cromwell Cherry Festival, a Central Otago community event that is not to be missed.
Cheese fiends and those foodies who like things a little gourmet will not be disappointed as they wander around the McNulty family estate and shops at the back of the Old Cromwell. Candy floss and ingeniously twisted chips (made from a power drill and roasted potatoes) will also be on offer amongst the crafty gifts and clothing stalls for those who like something a little sweeter or well-engineered.
After exploring the market, be sure to bring a picnic rug so you can nest under a historic fruit tree and watch the cherry challenges and extremely competitive cherry spitting events. Cherrystone spitting is honestly an athletic past time. The event is always a family affair, with all age groups are well represented and a variety of spitting techniques deployed. Ranging from a wound up huffing squat and jump, through to a whiplash-inducing hoicking neck thrust spitting, the little stones seem to go a superhuman distance and regardless of the chosen method of propulsion.
Last year each of the contestants stepped up to the board with all the concentration of Valerie Adams going for Olympic gold. Nathaniel Napier, 19, won the 2015 event title with a spit of 11.67 metres - definitely the winner on the day, but not quite the record-breaking 12.09 metres achieved in previous years.
The pie eating competition is also worth a look. In 2015, it was surprising that North Canterbury's Mike Benny (the winner of the adult competition) didn’t need the Heimlich manoeuvre post - competition as the pie was inhaled that quickly!
This is definitely a Central Otago community event that is not to be missed, and even if you are just passing through on your way to Wanaka or Queenstown, Old Cromwell Town will definitely be worth visiting on the 3rd of January 2016. For more information go to www.cromwell.org.nz/events.
Creating a bit of a Hullaballoo and Christmas Cheer
What do you get when you combine the talents of 15 different artists and create a self-directed, self-governing co-operative? A celebration of Central Otago art in the Hullabaloo Art Space of course! Found in Scott’s Bakery in the Old Cromwell Heritage Precinct, this is the ninth year that Hullaballoo has opened its doors to share a very special Christmas Show with the wider community.
This year’s theme is ‘Christmas Cheer (Chair)’ and each artist, working in their chosen medium has created a piece based on their interpretation of what this is. The opening night is on Saturday 5th December from 6 pm onwards, and visitors can expect to see paintings, photographs, ceramics, sculpture, jewellery and prints adorning the walls. As always, a cheeky glass of liquid Christmas cheer and nibbles will also be on offer.
According to Lynne Wilson (local ceramicist, landscape designer and member of the Hullaballoo ‘Hanging Team’), the truly special thing about this event is that each artist gives away one of their works of art. In the spirit of giving and thanking the community that has supported them, all they want in return is people to visit on opening night, view the art and take a number when they walk in the door. At the end of the night, the winning numbers will be drawn out of a hat and fifteen people will be walking away with a new treasure to display in their own home.
Hullaballoo came into being because of the vision of Odelle Morshuis. The founding members were very clear about the need for Hullabaloo to be a true co-operative. There are no employees, the artists contribute a specific sum of money each month to cover rent and overheads, and the price you see on the artwork is the amount of money that goes to the creator. This means a sustainable income for the artists involved, and as it is the artists that keep Hullabaloo open seven days a week visitors actually get to talk to the people that created the work on display.
Scott’s Bakery, with its weatherboard walls and original white beech floors that now houses Hullaballoo, has its own fascinating story. It was originally found on the corner of Melmore and Inniscort Streets, which is now deep under Lake Dunstan. In June 1869, the bakery opened; however, it wasn’t until 1880 that Mr Scott proudly displayed the first bread made from local wheat in his shop window. For many decades, the Scott family supplied Cromwell with baked goods and in more recent times the building was used as the New Zealand Road and Rail Services bus depot. Thanks to the forethought of a talented group of craftsmen, the building was both relocated and restored in 1987.
Today, much like the bakery that it originally housed, the art space and its associated business model is a grand success. The gallery is refreshed every month and there is a waiting list of artists who desperately want to be a part of the Hullabaloo team - proving that the Central Otago Art community is both alive and thriving. So don’t forget, even if you are feeling sun kissed and weary after going the Festive Fete on Saturday, it is worth visiting Hullaballoo to see the opening of the latest show and spread a little ‘Christmas Cheer(Chair)’ this Saturday night at 6 pm or visit before the show ends on January 1st 2016
Artists: Andi Regan, Annemarie Hope-Cross, Eric Schusser, Gail De Jong, Jillian Porteous , Kay Turner, Lorraine Higgins, Luke Anthony, Lynne Wilson, Marion Vialade, Megan Huffadine, Nigel Wilson, Rachel Hirabayashi, Ro Bradshaw, Sue Rutherford.
Giddy Up! It’s time for the Cromwell Christmas Races
Framed by the Pisa Range, the Cromwell Racecourse is perhaps the most scenic horse racing venue in New Zealand. On the 29th November 2015, thundering hooves will once be heard on site as the Otago Racing Club hosts the annual Cromwell Christmas Races. With over 8,000 people coming to town, this event is pegged as one of the best Christmas staff parties Central has on offer.
As the oldest racecourse in Central Otago, Cromwell harks back to an era when Wanaka, Queenstown and even the Cardrona valley their own track. ‘Gallops’ have been held here for over 150 years, and up to five generations of race goers have stood trackside - the suspicion that the weatherboard stands whisper history is not unfounded!
Charlotte Neilson, the Event Co-Ordinator explains how the race day, with the stands and corporate marquis, hung with Christmas themed ornaments is a racing institution in its own right. She believes that the race days hinges on the social atmosphere, with crowds of people returning year after year. “It all seems to be a bit more relaxed in Central. Everyone is there for a good day out and it’s definitely a key event on the racing calendar as people travel all over the South Island to be there,” explains Neilson.
The key races are the Queenstown Cup, sponsored by AWS Legal and the Wanaka Cup. Other races have been sponsored by local Cromwell businesses including Duncan Anderson Dental, Misha’s Vineyard and Cromwell Transport. For something a little different you can even bet on a flock of scurrying sheep.
Exactly which horses and jockeys will be racing won’t be announced until three days before the event. However, as the maxim prize money is $40,000 for first place and given that there will be two open handicap races (this means horses that haven’t raced before can compete for sizeable prize money) you can guarantee that the top names will be there.
For some the highlight of the day won’t have anything to do with thoroughbred horses, as the “Fashions on the Field” events are another big drawcard. This year's theme is "Animal" so everyone from the youngun's in their onesies, to the adults with a feather in their cap, can strut their stuff, hoot at the winners, growl at the losers and generally get in touch with their "inner animal". The team from Dunedin’s Refined Rig will be judging this year’s best-dressed competition and there are three large goody bags valued at $2000 up for grabs, along with a number of decadent spot prizes.
If guests get hungry there will be an array of food vendor’s onsite, alongside market stalls and an abundance of activities to keep the younger family members entertained. That is if they like bouncing castle, go karts and oversized games like chess and Jenga
Unfortunately, the corporate marquees were booked out months ago; however, if you want to try for a last minute cancellation contact Charlotte Nielson at email firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, adult entry is $15 and there are plenty of spaces to park a picnic rug or folding chair along the rails. All you need to do is put the 29th November 2015 in your calendar and go enjoy the sun-drenched community atmosphere at the Cromwell Christmas Races. For more information to: www.theraces.co.nz.
Decadent Christmas Shopping @ The Cromwell Festive Fete 2015
For those in the know, there is a “Fete Circuit” around the South Island and the Cromwell Festive Fete held on the 5th of December rates as one of the premier events - whether you are a stall holder or a guest. Children under the age of 14 can enter for free and for adults, simply pay your $10 entry fee, grab your complimentary signature shopping bag and explore the stalls tucked under the trees at the Cromwell Race Course. Enjoy hunting for Christmas treats that are both inspired and unique, while knowing that a range of activities will keep younger guests entertained.The Festive Fete’s success has a lot to do with Anthea Lawrence, the event organiser. After it was announced that the Queensberry Fete had reached the end of an error, she and her close friend Claire Harper created a new event designed to ensure that both guests and stall holders have a great day. Five years later she still finds stallholders selling products that are both high quality and mostly New Zealand made, or at least New Zealand designed. She also ensures that no one product is oversubscribed.
You will find everything on offer from Christmas decorations to adults and children’s clothes, homewares, hand-crafted children’s toys, deli produce, gardening products, paintings, prints outdoor furniture. Food and beverage stalls will provide sustenance for weary shoppers needing to refuel and live music will provide the day’s soundtrack. Wanaka’s very own country queen Jody Direen and jazz singer Vanessa Kelly accompanied by ‘The Fellas’ will all add to the atmosphere.
The event also helps community organisations do their own fundraising, the Cromwell Scouts will be on hand to help set up and take down stalls, and the Cromwell Barnardo’s fundraising committee will provide stallholders with morning tea. Cromwell Rangers will be working on the gates and helping out in the car park, and Pippins do a litter pick at the end of the day. St John ambulance staff are on site just in case and Wanaka’s Leo’s (Young Lions) will be carolling about the stalls.
If your Christmas present list is full of people that are hard to buy for, or you simply want to treat yourself to a relaxed day out before the full on festive season begins, head to the Cromwell Christmas Fete held on the 5th November at the Cromwell Racecourse. For more information go to www.festivefete.co.nz.
Dress in a Loud Shirt and Meet the Central Otago Winegrowing Community: Central Otago Wine Association
Cynics in the early 1970’s said that commercial grade wine could never be grown in Central Otago. Much like the little red hen that baked bread, a group of passionate wine enthusiasts decided to ignore the critics and prove that theory wrong, and they succeeded. The pioneering honours board in the Central Otago wine region include Burgesses of Blackridge, Hays Brothers from Chard Farm, Mills family who are based at Rippon, Ann Pinckney of Taramea Wines, and of course, Alan Brady of Gibbston Valley Wines. Together they have all produced award winning wines.
Today, the Central Otago Wine Association (COWA) represents over a hundred successful businesses that are a part of the close-knit Central Otago wine growing community. The membership list has grown beyond the viticulturists and winemakers and now includes bottling, packaging, engineering firms and even netting operations that can be found in Cromwell, Alexandra, Queenstown and Wanaka.
For those new to the industry, a viticulturist has their hands in the soil and tends the vines to grow rotund grapes. The winemakers take the fruit into the wineries and perform their alchemy to create an award winning beverage. Depending on who you talk to, there is a great debate over who is more important; however, it’s fair to say that it is a symbiotic relationship involving a lot of science, a good dose of artistry and a bit of luck.
As the region’s genesis did not involve any of the more well-known New Zealand wine labels (and their international funding), the smaller operations have had to abide by a spirit of co-operation. As soon as Alan Brady of Gibbston Valley Wines had his first commercial release of wine in 1987, COWA was formed. It quickly became a cohesive industry group where everyone would regularly get together to develop grape growing strategies for the region, ideas on how to optimise yields from the wineries and market their product around the world.
COWA’s key functions are national advocacy and hosting educational events for members. These events could focus on anything from vine root management or health and safety, through to discussing weather forecasting and climate change. The association produces the region’s Wine Map and has developed a plan for roadside signage. It supports both the Young Viticulturist and Young Winemaker of the Year Awards and thanks to the Mills family connections in France there is even a wine industry exchange to Burgundy.
With the inaugural Down to Earth Celebration, wine tourism has also become an area for future development. The main aim is to create personalised experiential activities that allow visitors to understand the narrative behind a wine label. The COWA member’s dinners are also worth mentioning as they appear to be a cross between a biblical “last supper” worshipping the latest vintage and a university loud shirt party.
Other recent newsworthy highlights include Glenys Coughlan moving from Venue Management for Absolutely Positively Wellington to be appointed in the CEO role for COWA and as of the 1st November 2015 Central Otago Pinot Noir Ltd (the Region’s marketing organisation) and COWA are now operating under a unified Board of Governance.
For more information on wine-related tours and activities in the region go to www.cromwell.org.nz, and to learn more about the Central Otago Wine Association visit www.cowa.org.nz.