Mountains, rivers, valleys and beaches are in abundance in this diverse region, which has been shaped by its gold mining and European settler history.
Otago is one of the most popular regions of New Zealand’s South Island due to its buzzing cities, adventure sports and stunning landscapes. It is also home to large colonies of seabirds and penguins, as well as boasting a rich heritage of gold mining and Scottish cultural influences. Allow plenty of time to properly explore this large and varied region.
Visit the vibrant university city of Dunedin, known for its Scottish heritage. Marvel at the gorgeous architecture of the Dunedin Railway Station, the First Church of Otago and the Law Courts. Ride the bus to St. Clair for a swim in the outdoor hot saltwater pool.
Drive out to the Otago Peninsula to view colonies of blue penguins, sea lions and albatross. The Penguin Place, a reserve that is home to a colony of yellow-eyed penguins, can be found here. Take a tour around the Royal Albatross Centre to learn more about these regal seabirds and watch interactive displays. Head to Pilots Beach at dusk to see little blue penguins, one of the world’s smallest penguins, scurrying up the beach to their nests.
In Queenstown, Enjoy a range of outdoor adventure sports, such as bungee jumping, jet boating, skydiving, river rafting and skiing in the winter. Kayak across Lake Wanaka, surrounded by the peaks of the Southern Alps. Wander around Arrowtown, a living historic settlement that was established during the gold rush.
Go curling at the indoor rink in Naseby, where the winter sport was introduced over 130 years ago by Scottish gold miners. Sample some local pinot noir at one of the many wineries in Bannockburn and Cromwell.
Fly into Christchurch Airport and then take a connecting flight to Dunedin or ride the clean and efficient public buses. Rent a car to explore the best of Otago’s scenery and the peninsula. Visit during spring or fall for warm weather and fewer crowds.
Whether you love adventure sports, scenic walks, relaxing on a beach or delving into local history, Otago has something for you to enjoy.