An immersive 6 day/5 night small group Central Otago tour that includes a workshop with studio potter Victoria Claire Dawes, E-Biking (optional), Fine Wine & Food.
Duration: 6 days / 5 nights
Dates: 11 – 16 February 2021, 25 – 30 March 2021, 29 April – 04 May 2021
Departs: Queenstown or Cromwell
Group Size: Min 6 – Max 10
Hosted by: Natasha Sinclair
11-16 Feb – 0 places
25-30 Mar – 10 places
29 Apr- 04 May – 4 places
Register your interest for our Spring Central Otago tours!
Hosted by owner Natasha Sinclair, this Crafted Journey Central Otago Tour is, like her tours in India and Africa, designed to take you through an immersive experience with a delightful combination of hands-on workshops and food and wine experiences, all at a pace that is not rushed.
Central Otago is the perfect amalgamation of stunning scenery, fine wine and food, world-class cycle trails and a thriving arts community and Natasha, a Cromwell local will be sharing her favourite people and places with you.
Spending time in the Pisa Moorings studio of Victoria Claire Dawes is undoubtedly a tour highlight. Victoria returned to New Zealand in late 2019 from Sheffield where she recently created a series of terracotta slipware for Museums Sheffield to compliment a major Da Vinci Exhibition.
We will e-bike the new Cromwell Gorge section of the Lake Dunstan Trail Cycling and Walking Trail – a modern engineering marvel with sections of the trail clipped on to the soaring cliffs.
No Central Otago Tour is complete without sampling the world-renowned wine and food. We will meet some of the small artisan producers over two days before returning to Victoria’s lakeside home for a grand reveal of your creations and a sumptuous private dinner.
DAY 1: (Thu) Arrival Day & Welcome Dinner
Your Crafted Journey Central Otago Tour starts from Queenstown*. A transfer will depart at 3pm with pick up available from Queenstown Airport and Queenstown accommodation. We will drive through Gibbston and the Kawarau Gorge to Cromwell to check into your accommodation for the next five nights.
You can then relax and freshen up until Natasha returns to collect you at around 6pm to drive to the Bannockburn Hotel for dinner.
The Bannockburn Hotel, established in 1862, has transformed from its beginnings as a rowdy gold rush watering hole to a fine, wine country hotel that features over 200 wines on their list.
We will enjoy a tapas-style meal that perfectly marries Central Otago’s produce with worldwide flavours. Two glasses of Central Otago wine, perfectly matched to the meal, are included. We will finish with a briefing about the following day and your choice of dessert from the menu.
*For those already in the Cromwell, Pisa Moorings, Lowburn, Bannockburn and Northburn areas, Natasha will collect you for each day’s activities from where you are staying.
Meals included: Tapas-style dinner and dessert at the Bannockburn Hotel + two glasses of Central Otago wine.
DAY 2: (Fri) Full Day Pottery Workshop with Victoria Claire Dawes
This morning we will head to Victoria Claire Dawes’ studio, nestled in a sheltered cove of Lake Dunstan in Pisa Moorings. Victoria specialises in creating terracotta tableware that is functional, beautiful and made to be used and shared.
During our full day workshop, you will be creating your own terracotta slipware plate. The workshop is suitable for absolute beginners and pottery enthusiasts.
Ceramics is not an artform that can be rushed so, for lunch, we will take a break from forming our pieces and Natasha will share her love of Indian cuisine with a group cooking class. Indian food fits perfectly in the narrative of shared tableware and Natasha will guide you through how to cook a delicious meal that matches Indian spices and cooking methods with New Zealand store cupboard staples and Central Otago produce.
After lunch, we will return to the studio to decorate our pieces under Victoria’s expert tutelage. We will leave them with Victoria who will fire and add a clear glaze over the next couple of days. We will be reunited with our finished artworks on Monday evening at our grand finale dinner.
Late afternoon, Natasha will transfer you back to your accommodation. Dinner is on your own account; Natasha will make a booking at a local restaurant and you are welcome to join her or make your own arrangements.
Meals included: Lunch
DAY 3: (Sat) E-Bike the Lake Dunstan Trail – alternative for non-bikers available
After everyone has been collected from their accommodation we will drive towards Bannockburn, taking a left after crossing the bridge and following the road round to the beautiful Bannockburn Inlet.
Here we will be fitted with e-bikes*. There is no rush and those who may not have been on a bike for a long time, or are new to e-bikes, will have plenty of time to familiarise themselves before we get underway. The newest and most spectacular section of the Lake Dunstan Cycle and Walking Trail is the 25km stretch from Cornish Point to Clyde that follows the true righthand side of the lake and is an engineering and design masterpiece. It is the only trail in New Zealand to feature cliff-face bridges. These unique bridges are literally bolted on to the steep bluff faces that dominate some parts of the gorge. There is also a spectacular suspension bridge over one of the gullies.
On arrival in Clyde you will have plenty of free time to browse the shops and galleries, take photographs and visit one of the local cafes (on your own account).
When everyone is ready, we will transfer back to Cromwell and your accommodation.
Dinner is on your own account; Natasha will make a booking at a local restaurant and you are welcome to join her or make your own arrangements.
*This section of the Lake Dunstan Cycle Trail is now scheduled to open at the end of March 2021. This means we will do an alternative ride for the March tour. If for some reason it is not open or is closed due to circumstances beyond our control for April, we will ride one of the other trails in the area and still visit Clyde as part of our day.
**There is an option to bring your own bike. If you do not wish to bike, an alternative option is available that includes transfers to Clyde to meet up with the group. Please discuss at the time of booking.
Included meals: Special morning tea and picnic lunch.
DAY 4: (Sun) Full Day Wine & Food Tour
After all the activity of the day before, Sunday will be a relaxing exploration of the Cromwell Basin wine and food scene.
Our day will start at the Cromwell Food & Craft Market (February and March departures only) for a wander before we visit a selection of smaller wineries, many in special locations with stunning views, that are not on the main wine touring route. The day isn’t rigidly planned so we won’t be rushed with our tastings or stops along the way.
Late afternoon we will finish at Scott Base Vineyard – a firm local favourite – for some substantial platters to accompany our final tasting of the day.
Afterwards, you will be transferred back to your accommodation.
From prior experience, most people find that they don’t feel like dinner after the day’s tastings and included food, so dinner is not included. However, Natasha is happy to make any bookings and arrange transfers if required.
Included meals: Light lunch and substantial late afternoon platters at Scott Base Vineyard
DAY 5: (Mon) Busy Bees, Innovation & A Grand Finale
After a busy weekend, we will start the morning a little later with a visit to Forage & Gold honey. For two generations the Wood Family have been collecting the bounty produced by bees in Central Otago and the remote rainforests of South Westland.
We will tour the bee shed and apiary before being welcomed into the Wood family home for a honey tasting experience that is not available to the general public. Over a refreshing, honey-based beverage or herbal tea, one of the family will guide us through an experience of honey tasting and food pairing. Included is a 250g pot of Forage & Gold honey of your choice, and a recipe to take home.
We will stop for lunch at a local café (own account).
After lunch we will visit Debra Cruickshank at Tannacrieff. Debra is an inspiration. Thriving on hard work and challenge, she has single-handedly developed a boutique contract winery and is widely recognised as “The Port Lady” of Central Otago. Her Hunter’s Collection Pinot Noir Ruby Ports aptly named Duckhunter, Red Stag and Trout, feature label artwork by New Zealand artist Tui Johnston and traditional wax seals that sing out to be displayed.
After our time with Debra the rest of the day is your own and Natasha will happily drop you where you want to go within the Cromwell area.
Later Natasha will pick you up to return to Victoria’s home and studio where Victoria and Natasha will host you for our grand finale private dinner, catered by Moreish Kitchen, and the unveiling of your unique piece of tableware that you created on Friday.
Post dinner you will be transferred to your accommodation
Included meals: Private dinner catered by Moreish Kitchen including a selection of Central Otago Wines.
DAY 6: (Sat) Depart
For those catching a flight home today, Natasha will transfer you to Queenstown Airport, arriving in time for flights departing after 11.00am or alternatively to your booked accommodation in Queenstown.
Central Otago Tour Gallery
Book your own accommodation and we will collect you each day from your accommodation.
(Daily Accommodation Pick Ups available from Cromwell, Northburn, Lowburn and Bannockburn Areas Only)
Tour + Stay Twin Share
All the tour Inclusions
5 nights accommodation at 4* Carrick Lodge incl. breakfast. Double and Limited Twin Rooms Available (‘run of house’ & subject to availability)
Tour + Stay
All the tour Inclusions
5 nights accommodation at 4* Carrick Lodge incl. breakfast in your own room (‘run of house’ & subject to availability)