We were headed to Queenstown and opted to take an indirect route through Central Otago, since we were told on good authority that it was “stunning.” We weren’t disappointed.
We drove the Dansey’s Pass Road, a narrow windy gravel road that travels through high country tussock farmland.
This joined up with Route 85 which goes through many small towns, most with their own ancient pub. Route 85 parallels the very popular Otago Central Rail Trail for much of its length. The area has a gold mining history, and many old relics have been preserved in the dry climate.
A major highlight was touring the Hayes Engineering Works, the late 1800’s / early 1900’s home and workshop of a good Kiwi bloke who invented tools for his own use on his farm, and developed a well known manufacturing business. His well-thought-out adobe and corrugated iron shop with belt-driven metalworking machinery is still fully operational, and his large adobe home is in great condition.
Us at an old mine:
An old hotel building made of local limestone blocks and schist:
The pace of life is pretty slow in these backblocks. There was so little traffic on the main roads, in most places we could slow down to a crawl or stop to see something or take a photo, with no risk.