Otago, one of the most diverse regions of New Zealand, has 32,000 square kilometers of mountains, valleys and plains, all nestled near the bottom of the South Island. A farming region by tradition, Otago offers a rare mix of natural and historic treasures. Wild seals, a miniature castle, submersed caves, kayaking adventures, world class vineyards and fantastic restaurants are all found in a region marked by glaciers, rivers and pristine beaches.
Otago has a traditional farming heritage integrated in a region of vast contrasts and a truly unique geographical character. You can’t eat scenery, but what does that matter, when the landscapes are gorgeous and the climate is diverse? Otago is a tourist magnet, which offers stunning ski areas in the winters and water sports on Lake Wakatipu in the summers, world class resorts and golf courses, along with a range of thrilling activities.
The big city, Dunedin, has a population of 124,000, and looks out at Otago Harbour from one side and the Pacific Ocean from the other. Dunedin is a popular port of call for cruise ships visiting New Zealand. Rich with cultural events during the academic year, it is the most southerly port of call for cruise ships visiting New Zealand. One of the largest employers is the oldest university in New Zealand, the University of Otago, established in 1871. Fully a tenth of the population is students.
Here is a brief list of Otago’s tourism hot spots:
- Larnach Castle
- Royal Albatross Centre
- Otago Settlers’ Museum
- Taieri Gorge Railway
- Chinese Gardens
- Matanaka (site of the country’s oldest farm) Sightseeing by air Oamaru (a town rich with historic buildings)
And finally, “Adventure Tourism” in Queenstown offers a range of adrenalin activities. Try hot air ballooning, rafting, jet boating, gliding, canyoning, hang gliding, heliskiing, para sailing, river surfing and bungy jumping.