Sunday 23 March 2014

From TV to Tahiti via Paradise

Yes, shocking resolution, sorry about that, it's what happens when you actually photograph the TV screen. Ok, sorry too about the primitive, untechnological skills on display here. But all that aside, what you see is a capture from the current TV advertisement for the BMW X5, which is shown powering through a series of spectacular scenes (all right, less of the powering in this particular shot - no sheep were presumably harmed, etc). All of them, or very nearly, are in the South Island and, if you've been paying attention to my more recent blogs, you will recognise this one as quickly as I did. No? Tch. Well, how about this, then:
Now you see it: it's the Dart Valley at Paradise, at the top of Lake Wakatipu, and these are some of the people on my Paradise Trail cycle ride with Revolution Tours a couple of weeks ago, heading off along the same dirt road to its end beside the Dart River. Magnificent scenery, literally movie-star glamorous, it's in constant demand for film, TV and advertisement locations. The owner of the Paradise station makes more money from permissions than from sheep, I believe. And you can just see why, can't you? Those peaks are classic profiles, great from any angle.

Speaking of Paradise, I'm away again on Thursday to somewhere that's commonly described that way, in ad-speak anyway: Tahiti. Yes, more turquoise water, this time with palm trees and snorkelling, plus croissants and baguettes and Bonjour! Bienvenue! Ca va? Also with the manta rays, sharks and quad-biking, plus stand-up paddle-boarding. (I can't help remembering that the last time I did anything similarly aquatic, it was sailing a dinghy in Fiji, and I had to be fetched back on the end of a rope after heading helplessly towards the horizon.) This time there will be no over-water bungalows, spa treatments or fancy dinners with French champagne for me. No, it's all about showing how Tahiti can be cheap and exciting, so I'm going to be self-catered and active. We travel writers don't always get it all our own way, you know.

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