Doing my bit to boost ‘Planet’ coverage

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The other side

New Zealand’s borders are finally open to all tourists and, as of this week, there is no longer a need for a pre›departure Covid› 19 test before heading here.

So, how is Clutha placed to capitalise on the big influx of overseas visitors we can now expect? Not very well, if a quick check of the 2021 edition of

Lonely Planet is anything to go by. Balclutha gets an honourable mention as “. . . the last opportunity to top up your vaping supplies before heading into the Catlins”. But many other localities are completely ignored.

If we are to compete as a major NZ holiday destination we need to lift our profile and ensure we get more coverage in the next edition of this much›referenced travel guide. I’ve made a start by preparing a couple of paragraphs about my patch, the Clutha Valley, which I’m planning to submit. Sure, a few tweaks are probably needed, but see what you think of it so far:

“The pure, snow›fed waters of Lakes Wakatipu and Wanaka make their 424.8km journey to the Pacific Ocean courtesy of the iconic Clutha River, the largest and fastest flowing river in the country. As it nears its destination, having all the electricity extracted via hydro power stations at the famous Clyde Dam as well as a couple of other dams that aren’t famous, the river passes through the spectacular Clutha Valley.

‘‘Known for its picturesque rolling farmland, steep forested hills and thrilling icy roads, the Clutha Valley is one of the jewels in NZ’s rural crown.

‘‘Clydevale, the area’s cultural, social and economic hub, is often referred to as the ‘Paris of the South’. And with good reason as, like Paris, the town is divided in two by its river.

‘‘On the south bank (often called the ‘rive gauche’ by the locals) is Clydevale’s business district, featuring an automotive centre, massage clinic and not one, but two veterinary outlets. On the north bank you’ll find excellent food, refreshments and hospitality at the Greenfield Tavern and, if it’s culture you’re after, Clydevale has its very own art gallery.

‘‘Just down the road is the valley’s answer to the Eiffel Tower — the huge, wood›fired boiler of the French›owned, Danone Nutricia dairy plant. Collecting premium milk from the region’s dairy farms, Danone has taken a leading role in combating climate change by swapping fossil fuels for waste wood, a byproduct of the local forestry industry.

‘‘Similarly, the valley’s farmers are no strangers to planet›saving innovation. All have installed an ingenious system to ensure their farming operations are carbon› neutral. Commonly known as ‘grass’, this technology captures carbon from the atmosphere which the farmers can, with the help of their livestock, then turn into energy and protein to help feed the world. Although it sounds amazingly simple, the concept has, so far, proven a little too complex for the country’s political leaders to understand. Efforts are under way to educate them, but it’s not an easy task . ..’’

Hopefully that’ll entice a few visitors up the Valley . . . what do you reckon?