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Historical and future journeys were celebrated yesterday as three Otago mayors officially opened the Central Otago Touring Route.
The 341km journey from Dunedin to Queenstown through the heart of Central Otago was launched at a celebration held at Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead in Oturehua.
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan, Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins and Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult, each exchanged a stone from their respective areas as a symbol of the interconnected history of the region and the unique diversity of the landscapes, before jointly declaring the route open.
A display of local vintage and classic cars nestled alongside Haydon Paddon’s newly launched electric rally car.
Although the route goes through historic towns including Ranfurly, Alexandra, Cromwell and Arrowtown before arriving in Queenstown, the route is EV-friendly, with charging points along the way, including two recently installed by ChargeNet at Omakau and Middlemarch.
Tourism Central Otago general manager Dylan Rushbrook said a touring route had long been a vision for Central Otago communities.
"When we look at other touring routes (the connecting Southern Scenic Route, for example) it is clear there are economic, cultural and social benefits for the many communities along the journey."