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Published on : Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Select Contracts development manager Dan Harmon was in Oamaru last month, meeting operators, visiting existing attractions and talking to tourists about their experiences. He was looking at what attractions Waitaki already had, how they all link together, why tourists were coming to North Otago and what opportunities there were to grow tourism year-round.
”There is an absolute wealth here for a visitor. There isn’t really an awareness of how valuable the stories that exist here are… the rich history of mechanical engineering, the broader story of the penguin colony, the list goes on and continues to grow every time I meet someone.”
”I think that’s the self-deprecating nature of Kiwis in general. For most people, who come to New Zealand, it’s the most beautiful country they’ve ever visited. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip for many, and they will talk about it for the rest of their lives.”
It was Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher’s suggestion of a zip-line running from Cape Wanbrow to Holmes Wharf, in an Otago newspaper article, that led to their introduction.
”Gary’s not so egotistical to think that his one idea is the answer, but it did spark a conversation,” Mr Harmon said.
Mr Harmon said he ”certainly wouldn’t rule out” a zip-line attraction in Oamaru or a push towards more adventure tourism.
”But the message I get repeatedly from Oamaruvians is `We don’t want to do what other people have done’,” he said.
‘This is not a place where you would pick up an attraction-in-a-box bought from Europe or America and plonk it down in the middle of the town and charge a ticket for entry. There is so much of organic creativity, there’s so much passion already here that there’s no need to import beauty from anywhere else. There is such a treasure of opportunities for new, ”ticketable” attractions in Waitaki that it is just a question of identifying the appropriate opportunities.