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Experience true solitude and get close to nature in an inspiring and timeless land. First time visitors are silenced and energised by this tumble of mountain, river, rock and tussock. See the grandeur of breathtaking vistas and be moved by their surging natural power. Central’s clear light brings mountains within an arm’s reach and displays a star-studded night sky. It is a place of extraordinary contrasts, our middle earth.

Central Otago, affectionately called “Central” by those that know it well, covers an area of 10,000km² and has fewer than 20,000 permanent residents. You will notice a change of pace when you come here.

There is a vast range of images and views in Central.
  • Autumn glows red and amber along the banks of rivers that flow to a heart founded on gold, and shaped by enterprise.
  • Scorched morning rays herald a patchwork of fruit orchards alongside farms that creep toward tussock-clad hills. Magnificent mountain ranges hold vigil over the mighty Clutha river and its offshoots, safeguarding secrets of times long since past.
  • Fluffy white clouds seem within reach above huge rocky outcrops and grazing farm stock while tiny pioneer settlements lay nestled and hidden within the grandeur.
  • Natural light reflects off the velvet folds of magnificent mountain ranges onto pastoral valleys, rocky tors and the awesome sprawling plains. Throughout this vast landscape, remnants of a prosperous gold mining past lie in the scarred hillsides, occasional mud-brick buildings, old stone fences and lonely cemeteries.
  • Hot, dry climates cultivate golden fruits and award winning wines below tawny hills, where fine-wool Merino sheep graze. Wildflowers line roadsides, and powerful rivers cut awesome gorges to a lake.
  • A timeless land where the Taieri River meanders lazily, and empty roads stretch by irrigated farmlands to historic, sleepy towns.

To find out more information on the areas in Central Otago, their geographic location and their features.

Central Otago is a land of extremes: it is the coldest, driest part of New Zealand. The seasons are sharply defined: summers are hot and low in humidity; winter mornings are often misty, the days cloudless and windless and the nights freezing. To find out more information on the climate of Central Otago.

We’re away from it all but within easy distance of the main southern cities. Check out travelling times from the main southern cities to Central Otago.

Central Otago is a Film Friendly district and a member of Film Otago Southland the regional film office.

The District Development team at the Central Otago District Council are more than happy to help with any queries. Please feel free to contact a staff member on the email address below.
Film Friendly Film Otago Southland Green Screen
film friendly
Central Otago has Film NZ ‘Film Friendly’ accreditation which means processes and policies have been developed to support screen production.
film otago southland
Film Otago Southland’s mission is to grow filming activity and revenue within the province by coordinating and promoting relevant activities and opportunities.
green screen
Central Otago endorses the ‘Green Screen’ approach to film making which encourages sustainable and environmentally-friendly filming practices.
Things to be aware of Production Histories Production Logistics
things to be aware of
The outstanding scenery is assured but before filming there are a number of technical details, support services and regulatory details you need to consider. READ MORE
production histories
The inspiring and extraordinary landscape has formed the backdrop of several international big screen hits including ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.’
production logistics
Check out the film infrastructure and support services available such as accommodation, transport, telecommunications and more.
Casting Services Government Assistance
casting services
There are casting agencies throughout Otago to help you find the perfect talent for your film production.
government assistance
The New Zealand government offers a range grants to film makers including a grant for large budget screen productions. There is also a digital and visual effects grant.

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