Located in the South Island of New Zealand, the Otago region is home to some of New Zealand’s most popular destinations including Dunedin, Queenstown, Wanaka and Oamaru. Famous for its spectacular scenery, Otago things to do include hilly countryside, sheltered valleys and of course, the iconic ski fields of Queenstown.
There are also a great range of Dunedin attractions including the Botanic Gardens and the rugged scenery of Taieri Gorge best enjoyed from the vintage limited train that departs a grand Renaissance style station. At Curio Bay, spot the smallest and rarest marine mammal, Hector’s dolphin or visit the Catlins Coast for a glimpse of the mysteriously beautiful and extremely rare yellow-eyed penguin the hoiho. Another popular Dunedin attraction is the stately homes of Glenfalloch and Larnach, offering 12 ha of woodland gardens, a castle with battlements, exquisite carved ceilings and an unbelievable ballroom.
Queenstown is most famous for its ski fields, with Treble Cone and Cardrona ideal for all skill levels. You can take to the ski slopes or marvel at the silent beauty of Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. Experience the thrill of Shotover River’s adrenaline activities including helicopter rides, white water rafting, jet boating and bungy jumping or visit the historic Skippers Canyon for lying fox, rafting, jet boating and bungy jumping. Visit Arrowtown, a picturesque gold mine settlement 20 minutes outside Queenstown.
Take a gondola ride to Bob’s Peak, 450m above Queenstown with views of Lake Wakatipu.
Cruise Lake Wakatipu aboard TSS Earnslaw, a 100 year old steamboat. Explore beautiful wineries including Rippon Vineyard (near Wanaka), one of the prettiest wineries in the world, and Gibbston Valley Winery and its unique underground wine cave.
In Wanaka, things to do range from the New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum and its collection of flyable WWII fighter aircraft to Stuart Landsborough’s ‘Puzzling World’ complete with tilted house, puzzle centre and great maze. Why not try your hand at a guided fly fishing expedition on one of the many rivers, lakes and streams for brown and rainbow trout or tear it up wind surfing, water skiing, sailing and kayaking on Lake Wanaka. If you’re feeling brave give river canyoning or white water sledging a go or join a horse trek and explore the wilderness from the saddle.
Perhaps the most famous Oamaru attractions are the little blue and yellow-eyed penguins which come ashore at sunset, however the public gardens are also widely acclaimed and include an oriental garden and Victorian summerhouse. Oamaru is also home to some of New Zealand’s best-preserved heritage buildings and the 19th century whitestone and limestone town is particularly pretty. Harbour-Tyne Street is a special Victorian precinct which also offers great shopping. Don’t miss the museum and steampunk playground.