12 Jun 2020

Why Lumsden is hot right now - a local's love for his town

2:25 pm on 12 June 2020

Each morning RNZ lists the warmest and coldest places in New Zealand and Lumsden has been a recurring early morning warm spot. Lumsden Hotel owner Tim Hanna talked with RNZ's Morning Report about why the tiny Southland town's climate is special.

Lumsden, on a rare grey day.

Lumsden, on a rare grey day. Photo: Google

"It's brilliant. We're surrounded by mountains and high country, but we have this wonderful little microclimate.

"I've come to love our winters, we can get cold but we have snow, and we have so many still fine days with clear sky. We don't have endless grey days or a huge amount of wind. So people are out gardening and fishing."

Lumsden is a junction between Queenstown and Invercargill, and Gore and Te Anau. Hanna says when he travels away he knows down the road he's likely to hit grey cloudy skies no matter which direction he heads.

"We know that what's happening here can be very different to what's happening in the surrounding towns.

"I've come from Northland - Kaipara, and my wife Janel has come from Sydney, so we're not cold blooded, but we love it here."

He points out Lumsden is one of the furthest points from the coast in New Zealand, which protects it from squalls blowing in from the sea.

Lumsden Hotel publican and author Tim Hanna.

Lumsden Hotel publican and author Tim Hanna. Photo: Supplied.

"We're nestled in, surrounded by high country. We've got the Southern Alps to the west, it's a huge barrier between us and those southwesterlies, and we're right on the northern end of Southland, with a range to the south. So the weather's benign."

"If you're heading out from here to the back of beyond for fishing or hunting we always warn people it can still change, and you can't take it for granted. But in town it's just lovely."

In the summer many of the hotel's guests come for trout fishing, and to ride the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail.

Hanna said the hotel's usual flow of international visitors had been cut off completely since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, and most of the remaining guests had been agriculture or forestry contractors.

"We'd love more Kiwi visitors, now's the time to holiday in New Zealand. The jet boats and things that were so expensive before, there's some good deals now.

"The locals here support us, and are coming back - we have a great chef. We've just had to wind everything back to stay profitable, we've kept our staff - we've cut back on hours, but kept them in work and kept the doors open."

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