CBD by Miranda Spary

3 minutes read
Posted 26 March, 2024

It feels as if I’m sending my column in every day but apparently it’s only every week - I guess it’s old age making me think life is flying past far too fast. My mother just gave me a huge box of newspaper cuttings from years and years ago when I wrote for the Queenstown Times plus all the emails from my children to her and my dad. Needless to say, I wasted a great deal of time reading them all - quite shocking how many funny and frightful things I’d completely forgotten about.

I hope I don’t forget all the things I’ve done this week. We had a fabulous roadie to Karitane and Oamaru guided by Bob and Sue Berry who are Oamaru royalty. Even peasants like us got treated like royalty wherever we went! First stop was the Macraes gold mine at Macraes Flat. Honestly - it’s extraordinary - the trucks look like tiny Matchbox toys but they are 12 metres high - it’s NZ’s largest gold mine and by 2019 it had already poured its 5 millionth ounce of gold and they employ around 600 people. It’s not looking like closing anytime soon and it is well worth having a look.

From there we drove to Karitane which is a beautiful little coastal settlement. Everyone’s former Wakatipu favourite hospo whizz, Sebastian Bruinsma and his lovely Kate live there now running the general store. We tried our hardest to find something they don’t stock there, but we failed. We walked all around the coast oohing and aahing at the beautiful scenery and foliage and dreamt of owning one of the cute seaside cottages.

Next stop was Oamaru with completely different problems from Queenstown’s. There are rather too many empty buildings and while they are doing everything they can to lure tourists, it’s not that easy. I’m sure NZ would be a much happier place if we shared the oversupply of tourists here with other parts of the country. I simply don’t understand why Air NZ doesn’t do direct regional connections - it would be great to fly direct to New Plymouth or Nelson from here, and surely it would make things better for everyone. Luckily there’s the A2O cycle trip from Mount Cook to Oamaru which really has boosted things and those cute little blue penguins waddling up from the sea every evening are marvellous ambassadors for the town.

The Berrys have opened a new diner in the north part of Oamaru and we not only bought enough cheese to last us a lifetime, but had lots of cheesy deliciousness for our breakfast as well - some sounded very weird (fried cheese curds with gravy in a poutine but SO moreish) and then we went to visit the cheese factory. I love seeing how things are made, and cheesemaking is particularly fascinating. It’s sad that so few businesses allow visitors in to see what is going on, so big congrats to Whitestone. We also went to Waitaki Boys so that my darling could revisit his alma mater. Alma mater (generous mother in Latin) is a strange term for a school where there was so much corporal punishment especially for boys who couldn’t spell.


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