The remarkable Orokonui Ecosanctuary is found just 20 minutes drive from the centre of Dunedin and is a must-see for anyone who loves the outdoors, breathtaking views and New Zealand’s incredible wildlife. The 307 hectare Ecosanctuary is the only native Cloud Forest in New Zealand where indigenous plants and animals live in their natural environment without threat from introduced pests.
Complementing this magnificent Ecosanctuary is the Orokonui Café, set inside the award-winning visitor centre; it features breathtaking views of the Silverpeaks and Orokonui Valley. This café is special for so many reasons, but what stood out for me was the commitment to using local, native and natural produce; from the finest locally sourced vegetables to creatively using native spices such as Horopito.
Looking after the café is local girl Cyndi Ngamoki, who brings to the table a wealth of knowledge about local supplies and edible native plants. Cyndi is also an absolute whiz in the kitchen. The flavours on offer are a unique blend of forest infused New Zealand dishes, with a home-style feel.
I have to recommend the “Blue Skin Bay Hottie” Panini which is filled with delicious free-range ham, hot plum relish from Waitati and Evansdale Manuka smoked Brie cheese. I don’t think a Panini gets much more local or tasty than that!
Everything is made on site, from the freshly baked cakes to their special Rewena bread, a closely guarded Maori bread recipe; tasting a little like sour dough, it is yum!
Enjoy a café experience like no other at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary Café; relish the delectable local flavours on offer, in the most stunning architecturally designed surroundings and in the company of some of the world’s most fascinating and rare forest wildlife. Magic.
600 Blueskin Road
03 482 1755