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Otago curling

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Otago is New Zealand's second largest region and the only to have a near continental climate — the hottest summers and coldest winters in New Zealand. Old trails that gave access for thousands of miners in the 1860s goldrush wind over the hills. There are stone cottages, cleverly engineered water channels, mines and related machinery.

Naseby is a small town in the Maniototo area of Central Otago. An important township during the goldrush, much of it has been preserved and has something of the air of a working museum. At its peak, the population was close to 4000, but by the time administrative boundaries were changed in the 1980s, it had become New Zealand's smallest borough, with a population of only around 100.

Today, Naseby is a quiet holiday spot. Although its winters are very harsh, it is one of New Zealand's main curling venues.

Curling is a precision team sport similar to bowls or bocce. It is played by two teams of four on a rectangular sheet of prepared ice. Heavy polished granite stones are slid towards a target area called the house.

Points are scored for the number of stones a team has slid closer to the centre of the target. The level of precision and complex nature of the thinking required has led curling to be referred to as chess on ice.

It is thought the game was invented in late medieval Scotland. The first written reference about a contest using stones on ice dates to February 1541. Two 1565 Brueghel paintings depict Dutch peasants curling. Scotland and the Low Countries had strong trading and cultural links during that period. There is also evidence of that in the history of golf.

Today the game is most firmly established in Canada, having been taken there by Scottish emigrants, but Naseby became New Zealand's curling capital with the opening of an International and Olympic standard indoor rink in 2005. Since curling achieved full Olympic status in Nagano in 1998, it has enjoyed worldwide growth.

Just 20 minutes from the curling rink is Danseys Pass Coach Inn, which holds New Zealand's oldest continuous hotel licence, built in 1862. Most of its contemporaries have succumbed to floods, fire or time.

Danseys Pass Coach Inn has 19 rooms, accommodating 38 guests. Authentic refurbishing gives comfort while maintaining the character and atmosphere of the goldrush area.


Maniototo Curling Rink charges around $9 an hour per person.
Dansey's Pass Coach Inn rooms start at around $115 a double a night.
Air New Zealand has flights to Queenstown.

One-way fare from;
  • Sydney, $367*
  • Melbourne, $372*
  • Brisbane, $377*
  • Adelaide, $491
  • Perth, $606

*Direct Queenstown service availability is limited during peak ski period.


The south of New Zealand's south island.

For further information

Maniototo Curling International Rink
Central Otago
New Zealand
Ph/Fax: 64 3 444 9878

Danseys Pass Coach Inn
Naseby-Duntroon road
Northeast of Naseby
Central Otago
New Zealand
Phone/fax 64 3 444 9048

Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476

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