Duncan Ferguson took off his hat and mopped his brow. Leaning against the sweat-drenched withers of his draught horse he surveyed the land it had taken so many months to arrive in from Britain.
Instead of the miles of terraced red brick slums he’d grown up in he was surrounded by arid, tussock-covered hillside in stark contrast against the brilliant, cobalt Central Otago sky. And instead of the dull, grey cobbled streets a startlingly clear, aquamarine river tumbled through the dramatic gorge.
Somewhere down there, amid the crumbling schist rock and ice-cold mountain water lay his future. The unseen gold called him with a silent siren song. Inspired, he replaced his hat, leaned into the harness and grunted as the mighty horse dragged his cart deeper into the valley.
More than a century later another pioneer steps down from the driver’s seat of his 4WD, helps his passengers out and shows them the same, astonishing vista. He tells them tales, the story of Duncan Ferguson and the thousands of other men just like him who dragged their families from the cities of the world to conquer an unrelenting land resplendent in its savage beauty.
As his tales come to an end he deliberately lets the silence take over and allows the surroundings to tell their own story. Aided by the scenery, the clear, clean air and the distant sound of the river far below, in each of their minds the scene comes back to life.
This is New Zealand’s pioneer heritage at its best. This is the NZ Nomad Safaris experience.