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Sideways on the South Island

Sam Neill (c) Getty ImagesExcerpt: It a latitude of 45° south, New Zealand’s wine-producing region of Central Otago is quite possibly the most southerly one in the world. Surrounded by beautiful, craggy mountain peaks and sitting geologically atop glacial valley floors, it is known for its hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters.

It also seems to be a world apart from what Sam Neill is experiencing right now. Dressed in a loud, printed shirt and sporting Ray-Bans, we’re sitting in the lounge of The Datai, a luxurious resort on Malaysia’s mystical Langkawi Island, hidden amidst lush, age-old rainforest and facing the Andaman Sea.

The air is thick with humidity and the stillness of the afternoon heat is broken only by the loud drone of cicadas as well as the occasional chatter of the oriental pied hornbills that thrive in the area.

For those who know Neill as Dr Alan Grant, the palaeontologist in the Jurassic Park movies, it would seem he is in his element. It is, in fact, his first visit to Malaysia, where he recently hosted a special Two Paddocks wine dinner at the resort. “I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful this all is…I feel like I’ve been lurched into some kind of Garden of Eden.”

Read the entire article here. (PDF)

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