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  • Writer's pictureKate

Giving the Gift of Central Otago:

Updated: Dec 16, 2022

Rural, refined and resourceful, Central Otago folk are a self-sufficient lot. We have been ‘Supporting Local’ looooooooong before it became a trending hashtag. We have excellent horticulturalists, agriculturalists, authors, bakers, photo takers and art-makers right here in Central Otago, where place often plays a key role in the production or the inspiration behind it.

Avoid anxiously waiting for the courier backlog to clear in time for Christmas Day and purchase presents from Central Otago businesses! I've compiled a range of incredible Central Otago based businesses to stop you searching far and wide for unique, practical or delicious gifts this year! I've separated them into three categories for ease: Snacks, Art and Books.

Gift A Slice of Snacks & Produce:

Our neighbours are often tending to high quality produce right down the road! Orchards, agricultural gardens and vineyards create a patchwork all over the region so there is always an abundance of road-side stalls filled with fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, honey and more! It is often much more convenient and cost-efficient to nip down to the local road-side stall for produce than it is to wrangle the supermarket carpark. Below are a few Central Otago treats that you can bring to the Christmas lunch table or gift them to a loved one!

Often seen at farmers markets, Jo and James are the team behind delicious preserves and gorgeous bouquets: they grow it, make it, sell it and love it! Their preserves are made using home-grown and spray-free ingredients. All of the preserves are gluten free and made in a gluten free kitchen. Any ingredients that they can’t grow themselves have been locally sourced in Central Otago!

Their Mint Chutney is fantastic with lamb - perfect for the next-day cold meat sandwiches or with the hot roast. The Carrot Cake Jam works well as a glaze on a ham OR with cream cheese on a cracker (which is my personal favourite!). Scrubby Gully’s Raspberry Jam is divine in a sponge and the Boysenberry & Port Jam is an amazing topping for a cheesecake. Check out Scrubby Gully Preserves & Peonies: Facebook, Instagram, Website


Parked up at Trail Journey's Clyde Office is the gorgeous bakery-trailer-coffee cart of She Bakes. Natalia has always enjoyed baking and creating and has a Bachelor of Visual Arts and a Certificate in Bakery. Working in NZ and in Europe,

Natalia the skills and confidence to embark on her dream of owning a bakery

food trailer and this is how She Bakes was born!

Her Christmas Cookie Jars were incredibly popular last year, and you will soon see why! For only $30.00, you can get a collection of She Bakes best selling cookies - Belgian; Shrewsbury's; gingerbread people; vanilla iced Christmas trees; vanilla chocolate swirly-whirlys, hazelnut apricot jam and some deeeeeeeelish Austrian Christmas Cookies 'vanilla kipferl, Shwarzweiss Gebacke'. For a staff-treat, for the Christmas Table or a Secret Santa for the foodie, a box of mixed Christmas Cupcakes - Chocolate bomb, chocolate vanilla, vanilla salted caramel. Purchase a 6-Box for $35.00 or a 12-Box for $60.00. She Bakes also has a Christmas Wreath Cake: A chocolate cake with vanilla and salted caramel buttercream - Think melt-in-your-mouth goodness! Check out She Bakes: Facebook, Instagram, Website

  • Lauderburn House:

Creating a paradise on the fringe of the Lauder township, Gill & Hamish are living the (very busy) Central Otago dream. Together, they run a Bed & Breakfast, manage their lifestyle block, have a flourishing market garden AND both work full time jobs.

The Lauderburn House has taken 'road-side-stall' up a level by having a roadside Farm Gate shop right on State Highway 85. In Summer, you will see it filled with honey, dried herbs, beeswax candles, teas, beeswax balm, eggs, vegetables and more, making Lauderburn House the perfect stop for a Central Otago infused gift (or two!) Gill & Hamish aren't the only busy bees on the Lauderburn lifestyle block either! With 30 beehives at the back of the property, there is creamy honey also available to purchase - both clover and thyme honey! Thyme honey is a Central Otago staple and works deliciously in with chicken dishes or lathered on toast. The creamed honey is a popular purchase for guests who have stayed at Lauderburn House and have had a taste for breakfast. Gill & Hamish have small and large jars of honey to buy so perfect for both sending away or putting in your luggage. Pop out to the Lauderburn Farm Gate shop - found right after the 100km sign as you head out of Lauder towards Becks. Check out Lauderburn House: Instagram, Facebook, Website.


Fresh fruit is a must-have on Christmas Day; mainly to counteract the boxes of Favourites we pick at throughout the day! A local favourite is The Berry Lady, based out McArthur Road. The strawberries are spray-free and grown in an organic fashion, meaning they're the perfect topper for your Christmas Pav! Even more conveniently, Rebecca delivers right to your door! These strawberries come in huuuuuge punnets for only $16.00. Follow The Berry Lady on Facebook and message her to order!


Gift the Inspiration of Central Otago: Art

The wealth of talent we have here in Central Otago is endless. The region inspires the creative like no other. This place of extremes stirs the soul and is the perfect backdrop to explore ideas and inspire innovated. We have a wide range of awesome artists producing high quality art here; photographers, sculptures, painters, potters and more!

Perfectly capturing the 'Real Central Otago' is award-winning photographer Vicky Bowman. She is passionate about her community, her photography and her golden retradoodle Storm.

Based in Omakau, Vicky loves photographing moody skies, rural landscapes and dark, starry skies. Her photography showcases the rugged diversity we have in Central Otago and combined with her passion for the area, Vicky is often scouting out new locations through the Manuherikia and Ida Valleys. Her photographs evoke a sense of nostalgia for all - those currently living in the region; Central Otago expats; those who have travelled through the area on two or four wheels or used as inspiration for their next Central Otago holiday. Purchase "A real Central Otago print" from Vicky today - she has a wide range of sizes, prices and mediums available. Check out her extensive Central Otago (and further afield) gallery on her website, her Instagram or Facebook.


Wild Seeds is a love affair of dried botanica and hand crafted candles. Owned and operated by Rachel, out of beautiful Cromwell, where she is inspired daily with the natural Vistas. Their latest collection, which will be becoming a regular, is the stunning décor range that is all about simplistic beauty that never ages. They not only look incredible, but also smell incredible! The divine smells of Wild Seeds include French Pear; Black Raspberry and Vanilla; Cinnamon Vanilla and Vanilla. If you are looking for something custom made, do give Rachel a bell, as she loves to get creative! Wild Seeds is on Facebook, Instagram or check out their website here!


The Māniatoto landscape keeps painter Chloë in awe and inspired. Her mediums reflect her mood so she dances between charcoals, watercolours, and oil paints.

She explains that everyday, the mountains surrounding her home look different depending on the time of day, the weather, the lighting, the clouds, the seasons - there are no two days the same! Check out Chloë's art (alongside her garden, her work and her incredible bread baking skills) on her Instagram here to follow along!


Living out Earnscleugh, Kathi's pottery is high-quality and truly handmade. She does wheel-work, hand-work and sculptural and continues to experiment with different firing methods to get a range of colours and textures making each piece incredibly unique. Currently, Kathi is enjoying the raku method for her pottery - this is removing the clay object from the kiln at the very height of the firing process which causes it to cool very quickly. Her raku work balances nicely with her conventional domestic pottery too. Kathi often puts on pottery workshops for others to learn how to sculpt, mould, make and create with clay.

As an (increeeedibly amateur) potter myself, Kathi was my first introduction to clay work and pottery, and I love the variety in her work. Her domestic ware make excellent presents and you can purchase her work from Eade Gallery in Clyde, the Courthouse Cafe in Alexandra or follow her on Facebook to check out more work of Kathi's.


Gift a Word on Central Otago: Books and Essays

Either set in Central Otago or written by a Central Otago local, these books are an awesome present for the bookworm in your life!

"Alexandra, 1866 The Gold Rush has been and gone. Alexandra is fast becoming a town of dwindling opportunities, especially for Ginny Doyle, an intelligent, young Irish wom an with dreams of painting her way through Europe. New life is breathed into the town as Chinese miners arrive to rework the old claims. Curiosity draws Ginny down to the Chinese camp by the river, where she meets translator and miner Deming Yang. Ginny spends her days painting, lost in endless conversation with Deming as he mines. But there is more than just gold waiting to be unearthed; a murder, a mystery illness, a fire at the Chinese boarding house, a shared kiss and a dark family secret with the power to destroy everything Ginny thought she knew…" PURCHASE HERE

"To live in Central Otago is to come to terms with the dominance of nature. Writer Jillian Sullivan set out to walk the hills and mountains of the Ida Valley where she lives, and follow the Manuherekia River from the mountains to its confluence with the Clutha/Mata-au. Her aim was to not only explore the land and river for themselves, but the ways in which we grow in intimacy with where we live; how our histories, and those of the people who went before us, our experiences of loss and love, our awakening to what is around us, bring us closer to community - closer to a meaningful life. PURCHASE HERE

Born in raised in Melbourne Australia, Kyle is an award-winning author currently living in the gorgeous Millers Flat. She has an extensive list of entertaining children's books, bound to make the whole family smile! Check out her website, or follow on Facebook!

"We were trying not to snorus (sometimes school is such a borus), when we heard a growling chorus floating down the corridorus. Three children spy a dinosaur walking through the school ... followed by another ... and another ... and another! They decide to follow them - and what a surprise they find!"

"When you buy from a small, local business, an actual person does a little happy dance." Love your local and give the gift of Central Otago this Christmas.

Meri Kirihimete, Kate x


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