Autumn in Otago

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Autumn in Otago is always a vibrant yellow, copper and gold event but this year the colours are bolder than ever.  It’s been a particularly dry summer and the trees began to turn in March.  As you stroll the banks of Lake Wakatipu, there is the a crisp golden crunch underfoot.  What a wonderful time of year it is!


The Queenstown Mountain Bike Trails


In this glorious Alpine wonderland there are several cycling trails.  The Queenstown Trail was a vision of very passionate people in the community and now after 10 years of perseverance it is a reality.  There are  7 rides in total.  They vary from easy to advanced and they will take you past two iconic lakes and the banks of three famous South Island rivers.

Lake Wakatipu Ride

Jack’s Point Ride (DOC Trail)

Countryside Ride

Arrow River Bridges Ride
Gibbston River Trail (DOC Trail)
Lake Hayes Circuit

Twin Rivers Ride
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The trails are safe, spotless and challenging if you attempt the more advanced adjacent to Morven Ferry Road, this takes you over 3 very steep hills and you are guaranteed a cardio-workout right up there will a 500m sprint.  Dust off the bike this weekend and get out there before the summer is over.

I’m looking forward to discovering more in months to come on the Wine Trail and the Arts Trail and hopefully with a bit of focus will be able to get a group of friends together to do the Rail Trail too.


French Tomatoe Tart…one into the Cook Book

French Tomatoe Tart




butter, castor sugar oregano and garlic.  Melt on low heat.

Add enough halved tomatoes to fill a 25cm baking tin.

Once browned, add 2 tbls of white wine vinegar.  Remove from heat and when cool place face down in the baking tin.



250g organic flour, 140g butter, little dry oregano, S & P, little water.  Mix dry ingredients till they look like breadcrumbs, add water and roll out to a 25cm circle.  Place on top of the tomatoes and bake at 200 deg. for 20 – 30 minutes.

When fully cooled flip over onto serving dish and voila !!


French Tamatoe Tart


Going back in time.

Each day that I visit Arrowtown, well that’s usually every other day, its like going back in time to the simpler life.  Arrowtown is so beautiful.  A quaint little town on the banks of the Arrow River and right in the heart of the Southern Lakes.  I’ve just been cycling

The Arrowtown Post Officewith friends this morning along the Arrow River, then emptied my Post Box and had a delicious “flat white” at the Bonjour Cafe in the town centre.  Well there is only one main street!  Several buildings in Arrowtown are heritage buildings and there are two very old churches.

Summer flowers

Lake Wakatipu and the end of the snow this year.

I love my trips to Arrowtown and feel very inspired in many ways.  I’ll probably take in a movie at Dorothy Brown’s boutique cinema later this week, who knows?  James Bond in Arrowtown, sounds exciting.

Heritage buildings in Buckingham Street

Celebrating cherries.

Otago’s climate of bitterly cold winters and hot summers is ideal for cherry production.  The area around Cromwell and Alexandra is famous for fruit farms and December is a wonderful time to indulge in cherries.  The conditions in these areas of Otago, give sufficient winter chilling for good bud initiation and the heat of summer ensures high sugars and a quality finish is to be expected of top export fruit.

Here are several cherry varieties.

Burlat – A large firm bright red fruit. An early taste of summer.

Primavera – A sweet summertime cherry. Bright red with pink melting flesh. Medium size.

Dawson – Otago’s most famous cherry. Rich burgundy colour, sweet and juicy. Medium size.

Bing – Red black sweet and crunchy. Possibly the worlds best known variety. Size is medium to large.

Stella – Dark red and sweet, an attractive heart-shaped fruit.

Lapins – Large sweet fruit deep red in colour.

Sweetheart – Large crunchy red fruit with dark red sweet flesh.

Rainier – White fleshed large and very sweet.

Staccato – Large very crunchy red black cherry with sweet burgundy flesh.

Samba – This is a very large sweet cherry.

Selah – Also called Liberty Bell in the USA. A large crunchy fruit.

This year I’m going to attempt to try them all and decide on a favourite.  I do believe these in the visual are Buriat.


The traditional Sunday roast (back to the cookbook)

The good old traditional roast is so important on a Sunday I feel.  Sitting down to lunch after an energetic morning of cycling and swimming is very rewarding.  Not only that but its important to sit around the table and break bread together.  Even if it is only the 2 of you.  Instead of roasting up a huge leg of lamb, choose a fresh Otago lamb shank and throw all the trimming in the roasting tin.  Use  a drizzle of cold pressed virgin olive oil to get things going, season and don’t forget the Kumara (sweet potato in New Zealand).  Green beans are a must.  A bunch of freshly picked mint from the garden, red wine vinegar and Manuka honey and your mint sauce is good to go.  Simple and delicious.

The year is almost over. List 6 things you want to achieve in 2013.

We all go through the same process every year, don’t we?  Well I certainly do.  What would you like to tick off the bucket list in 2013?  I have a lot in mind and I’m thinking probably the best way to achieve it this year is with the help of technology.  We have such incredible tools now to be able to set reminders way in advance and then set alarms to force you to pay attention.  I think I’ll start with a list using conventional pen and paper and then take 6 key things from the list and insert them in to “reminders”  My reminders are all in iCloud and synchronize between my IPhone, my iPad and my Mac so there really is no excuse.  It’ll be like having an electronic conscience.

What do you plan to do to achieve your goals in 2013?  I’ll share a couple of mine with you now.  I will get to fit again.  Fit enough to be able to run a half marathon if the opportunity presents itself and fit enough to cycle 100 km easily.  I know I can already swim 2.5 km, but it is a struggle after about 1.5 km, so there is also room for improvement there.    I am also going to get back on the golf course.

One last point to consider.  The language you use to write down your goals, that’s very important.  Use empowering words.  Don’t ever think you’ll fail, get on track and take action.  Seize your life!!