Big Sky Cottage is an ideal base for an active or a wonderfully lazy holiday.


Ophir is 5 minutes drive or half an hour cycle from Lauder via Omakau. Stroll along the historic main street of Ophir, once a bustling gold town. The massive kerb stones tell of the inhabitants then belief in the continuing supply of gold and desire to invest in the town. Many of the old buildings and houses along the main street tell a tale of goldrush days.

Gold has recently been discovered again locally in a quantity worth investigating further. You never know - the gold rush days of Ophir may not be a thing of the past after all.

Admire one of the last remaining suspension bridges in Central Otago. The magnificent Daniel O'Connell bridge, opened in 1880, is testimony to man's quest to conquer the unconquerable and a feat of engineering brilliance and beauty built into solid rock without the advantage of modern machinery.

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Dansey's Pass

Dansey's Pass, Oamaru and Moeraki make a good day round trip.

Follow the old miners trail across Dansey's Pass from the Maniototo to the grand Waitaki Valley and historic Oamaru. This pass takes you through historic mining country to the top of the world. The views are spectacular on both sides. Dansey's Pass is fine for 2WD in late spring through to early autumn. 4WD is recommended at other times.

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Oamaru is famous for its white stone - both stone and cheese. Visit the historic centre and port of Oamaru where history oozes from every corner and building. It is easy to imagine yourself back in the 1880s as you walk around the streets admiring the historic white stone buildings many of which have been lovingly restored to their former glory.

Take a short drive to visit the yellow-eyed and little blue penguin colonies. Call at the Information Centre in the main street for details of the best times for sighting the penguins.

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Drive south from Oamaru and visit the fascinating Moeraki Boulders. Marvel at how nature has produced such wonders similar to how an oyster creates a pearl.

Make sure you book for lunch or dinner at Fleur's fish restaurant in Moeraki. It is well worth the drive with the fish freshly landed from the local fishing boats.

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This is lovey day trip. Arrowton is an easy and interesting 1 hour 15 minutes drive from Lauder. Along the way you pass the Clyde Dam and travel along the banks of Lake Dunstan and through the magnificent Kawarau Gorge. The lake is a great place to stop for a summer picnic.

Stop on the way to explore the historic Kawarau Chinese mining village.

Arrowtown is an historic gold town still displaying the character of bygone days with the luxury of both quaint and stylish shops and eateries.

Browse in shops offering NZ designer clothing, jewellery and art, the Remarkable Sweet Shop with its many different flavours of fudge made on the premises, the chocolaterie, Arrowtown Bakery (offering a great range of yummy pies) and souvenir shops. The Arrowtown museum is definitely worth a visit with extensive information on the gold mining history of the local area.

For the energetic the full day walk to Macetown, the uninhabited gold town up the Arrow River, is a must. Alternatively explore the historic Chinese Settlement along the river, take a walk up the river following the water pipe line or down river along the Centennial Walkway. In spring and early summer the banks of the Arrow River are adorned with a blaze of colour from the wild lupins.

For lazier days catch a movie at Dorothy Brown's cinema, reclining in the luxuriously sumptuous seats and enjoy local wine and a cheese board at interval.

Make a day of it and stay for dinner at Pesto (pasta and pizza), Saffron (a special treat) or the Stables (good home cooking and open fire) all of which should be preceeded or rounded off with a drink at the cozy Blue Door bar which features live jazz on the first Friday of the month.

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