Dunedin is the capital of the Otago Region and home to New Zealand’s first university. The Octagon, in the heart of the city, offers visitors a wide variety of shops, bars, restaurants, cafes and entertainment facilities. Many historic buildings including the museums, churches, railway station and stately homes are all popular spots to explore. Dunedin is famous for its rhododendrons and has a number of good swimming and surfing beaches. Nearby the Otago Peninsula is home to a colony of rare New Zealand sea lions, yellow-eyed penguins, the world’s only mainland royal albatross colony and the historic Lanarch Castle.
Central Otago is the hub of New Zealand’s stone fruit industry and also holds the record for the country’s lowest annual rainfall. Alexandra is a popular summer holiday destination and best known for it’s annual Blossom Festival and Merino Shearing Championships (both held in September). Its fascinating hillside clock, historic shaky bridge, and Old Man Rock make interesting places to visit. Nearby Clyde, is a picturesque town located at the base of Clyde Dam and man-made Lake Dunstan, with its quaint cobbled streets, old stone buildings and various cafes Clyde is the perfect spot to break your journey and relax for a while.
Cromwell, conveniently located on a junction between Queenstown, Alexandra and Wanaka, is famous for it’s ‘big fruit’ sculpture on the edge of the town centre.
With many accessible fruit orchards, a juice factory, historic Old Cromwell Town, guided fishing trips and boating on Lake Dunstan, and a mini golf course Cromwell has activities to suit the whole family.
Explore the regions’ vineyards on the Central Otago Wine Trail or visit the Gold Fields Mining Centre, an original Chinese miners’ village where you can try your hand at gold panning. You will be intrigued by the smaller towns of Ophir, St Bathans, Naseby and Ranfurly and if you prefer to get off the tar sealed roads, then explore the dry hills of Central Otago which have many activities to offer including horse trekking, rabbit shooting, 4WD tours, wild flower walks and mountain biking.
The Catlins Coast, situated on the Southern Scenic Route, is coastal Otago’s untouched paradise. The spectacular waterfalls, beautiful beaches, magnificent forest and plentiful wildlife will make your trip to the Catlins unforgettable. Visit the seaside village of Kaka Point, Nugget Lighthouse and the famous Cathedral Caves (only accessible at low tide) or just spend a few days enjoying the majestic scenery and numerous bush walks available.
With its diverse range of landscapes, historical buildings and an abundance of activities the Otago Region has something for everyone.