The province of Otago with its capital, Dunedin, is an intriguing region on the south-east of the South Island. Dunedin is an enterprising and enjoyable city approximately five hours south of Christchurch. It is a vibrant University city which was once considered the cultural and economic centre of New Zealand. The first daily newspaper in New Zealand was the Otago Daily Times.
Otago is gifted with a rich cultural and natural beauty. It is a place with a “can do attitude” that drives new business innovation in engineering and biotechnology. Otago is considered a safe and relaxed province with a range of natural attractions from stunning mountains, beautiful lakes, rugged coastal shores and extensive rural landscapes.
Dunedin’s cultural diversity and rich history is reflected in the outstanding Otago Museum, considered to be one of the leading regional museums in New Zealand. The museum has outstanding collections covering the beautiful natural assets of the region, the history of Otago and the strong cultural values of Dunedin.
A short drive from Dunedin is the impressive Otago Peninsula, a spectacular natural area that provides the opportunity to view albatross, fur seals, penguins, nesting birds and dolphins.
Found on the Otago Peninsula are colonies of the world’s rarest penguin, the yellow-eyed penguin, sharing secluded beaches with New Zealand fur seals. The royal albatross colony at Taiaroa Head is the only mainland breeding colony of albatross in the world.
The award-winning Taieri Gorge train operates from Dunedin’s historic Railway Station. It provides a journey past old gold mining areas and through numerous tunnels deep into the Taieri River gorge, an area only accessible by train. The enjoyment of train transport on a scenic track is a highlight of any visit to Dunedin.
The Central Otago region inland from Dunedin has developed into a leading wine producing region with some of the great new Pinot Noirs being produced and winning accolades world-wide. Central Otago is the only region in New Zealand to experience a continental climate, having the hottest summers and coldest winters in New Zealand.
With the proximity of the southern mountains, superb lakes and exciting rivers, the region is among the most spectacular wine-growing centres in the world. And the quality of the wines produced matches the brilliant surroundings. The grapes are grown in inland basins in soils and conditions that encourage the production of premium boutique wines.
A growing number of vineyards offer the opportunity for wine tastings and restaurant and cafe facilities.
Otago offers an intriguing number of road excursions and its varied scenery, friendly people, pretty towns and wonderful main centre of Dunedin make it an essential province to visit.