Central Otago

Overview

Central Otago is situated down in the south of the South Island, right in the middle of the country.  Rather than go on at length about the place, we refer you to the Central Otago website which includes an enormous amount of information about the region put together very readably and pleasingly.

What we will talk about is what Central Otago means to us.  We are recent arrivals to the region, but have been sending people around the country for the last ten years as part of our inbound travel service.  So we have developed a wonderful understanding of quite a number of regions within New Zealand, an understanding enhanced by the special guides and hosts who take such good care of our clients.  With the whole country to choose from, we chose Central Otago.  Why?

It incorporates elements of the stunning scenery of the Queenstown-Lakes regions without being a busy bustling tourism metropolis with a large transient population.  It has wonderful people who have all chosen to live here and who admire and support the values of the area.  These values are old New Zealand values, incorporating respect, tolerance, openness, helpfulness and sheer old-fashioned kindness.  This is where we want our children to grow up.

On top of the social aspect, the weather is excellent.  The driest place in the country, almost every day is a useable day in the outdoors.  The warmest place in the country, the summers are good old fashioned days - long hot days.  The coldest place in the country, the winters are fantastic and dry with frosty mornings, ice skating, skiing an hour away (at Queenstown).  And the autumns are beautiful with changing colours.  I leave Spring to your imagination!

Then we have a very sparse population here, meaning that there is a lot of land for everyone.  A lot of wide open spaces without people.  A lot of unspoilt places.  And the people who are here are all out enjoying it.  Food is quite important to the area and there are a growing number of high quality boutique suppliers.  Meanwhile the locals have forever been putting wild food on the table - venison, pork, duck, pheasant, rabbit, trout.

The climate is suited to some very good local Pinot Noirs, Rieslings and Gewurztraminers, and the vineyards of Gibbston Valley and Bannockburn are within an hour's drive, between here and Queenstown.

This is largely a lovely 'undiscovered' place.  We have no major tourism volumes.  But we have a wonderful way of life and as you will see from the activities we have selected, we have no shortage of high quality activities available.  Most of our local activities are within an hour's drive.  Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Park are more like two hours away depending on transportation.

  • Lauderdale, and the ranges beyond
  • A view of the Hawkdun Range from the Poolburn Gorge (rail trail)
  • A vineyard at Bannockburn - world class pinot noirs....
  • The cavalcade - an annual Central Otago event
  • Bonspiel - an impromptu curling festival when the lakes freeze.
  • High country tussock - there is an enormous area available for hiking, four wheel driving, picnicking etc.
  • The Rail Trail...
  • A pristine high country stream
Lauderdale, and the ranges beyond

Lauderdale, and the ranges beyond