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BOOKS\ LET A TRAVEL BOOK TAKE YOU AWAY, SUGGESTS CORRIE PERKIN mid-1980s, Melbourne couple Louise IN THE and Martyn Myer visited the Wanaka region of New Zealand’s South Island. Keen skiers and

bushwalkers, they immediately fell in love with the area and a few years later they bought a plot of land. Their first objective was to plant more than 10,000 trees. Once the landscaping was done, it was time to think about what kind of lodge they might build. Fifteen years ago the dream of Whare Kea Lodge (named after the area’s native mountain parrot, the kea) became a reality. The Myers’ lodge, which includes a restaurant, accommodation for 12 guests and a chalet further up the mountains, is now a member of the Paris-based Relais & Chateaux chain of superior boutique hotels and restaurants. It is a glamorous getaway, but Whare Kea remains deeply connected to its surrounding landscape and the local community. It is also still very much a part of the Myer family’s life. Wanaka: Earth to Heaven at Whare Kea is their tribute to the area; as the Myers write in the foreword, “this book tries to put into words – and, more importantly, photos – the story of our enjoyment of the Whare Kea Lodge and chalet and visiting the Southern Alps around Wanaka.’’ The Myers commissioned this sumptuous coffee-table book, written by New Zealand journalist Michal McKay with photographs by Auckland-based Kieran Scott, and Random House in Australia has picked it up for local distribution. The book is divided into the four seasons’ pleasures

14 The weekly review \ NOVEMbEr 23, 2011

and produce, as well as recipes created by Whare Kea chef James Stapley. The chapter on spring, for example, includes an overview of the fishing, horse riding, tramping and mountaineering options, with profiles on the local experts in these fields. Spring recipes from Stapley’s kitchen feature local produce and include chicken, duck and chestnut terrine, beetroot-cured salmon with fennel and blood orange salad, and quince paste and quince jelly with a selection of local cheeses.

God’s own country: Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet in Wanaka, is named after the area’s mountain parrot, the kea. (COURTESY OF THE LODGE)

Winter, meanwhile, is all about skiing, the snow, and comfort food such as rabbit pie and chocolate brownies. Wanaka represents a new-ish kind of travel book that weaves beautiful photographs with memoir and stories, food, wine and important travel information. Other recent examples by local authors include Melbourne writer Dee Nolan’s 2010 superbly produced A Food Lover’s Pilgrimage to Santiago, At My French Table by Jane Webster, My Amalfi Coast by Amanda Tabberer, Turquoise: A Chef’s Travels in Turkey by Greg and Lucy Malouf, Italian Joy by Carla Coulson and A Family In Paris by Jane Paech. The key to these big hardbacks is the personal experience and the authors’ endorsements of a city, a region or a country. Because we live so far away from the rest of the world, Australians have to spend a lot of money to travel internationally; the observations and tips of others, therefore, are essential for our research. These books tick many info and pleasure boxes and, as such, make terrific Christmas and birthday gifts for the traveller in your life. \

WANAKA: EARTH TO HEAVEN AT WHARE KEA by Michal McKay and Kieran Scott » $65 (Godwit)


The Weekly Review


The Weekly Review