Central Otago has the most extreme climate on mainland New Zealand. It is characterised by:
  • Hot summers
  • Cold dry winters
  • A predominantly dry westerly wind flow.
  • Low air humidity

Central Otago is as close as anywhere in New Zealand to having a continental or Mediterranean climate. Hot summers, cold winters and low humidity all contribute to making Central Otago a special place to grow product.

The Mediterranean climate means that some crops grow better here than anywhere else in New Zealand. This includes garlic, crocus (from which we get the finest saffron) and olives.

Central Otago is famous for its cherries, apricots and apples. The high sunshine hours and high diurnal temperature range are ideal for these fruit, and Central Otago is synonymous with the best summer tastes.

More recently, Central Otago has also come into its own as producing the best pinot noir outside (and arguably inside) France. Pinot Noir thrives in the cooler, dry climate of the district. The harsh climate also helps control many of the pests or diseases that are part and parcel with agriculture elsewhere. Central Otago is the best place in the Country to grow organic or ultra-low residue fruit.

The best source of detailed climate information can be found on the GrowOtago website maintained by the Otago Regional Council. To visit this site please click on the following link:  

The following table, with information drawn from GrowOtago, summarises key climate indicators for the four main areas within the District:

Climate Statistics per Area of Central Otago

Growing degree days are calculated by subtracting the base temperature from the average daily temperature. 10 deg C is a useful base temperature for sub-tropical crops, e.g. grapes. 5 deg C is a useful base temperature for pasture and field crops, e.g. peas. If the average temperature is below the base temperature the growing degree day value for that day is zero. Daily growing degree day values are added together for the whole year, providing an indication of the energy available for plant growth.

Business Directory
Business Groups & Organisations
There are a range of business groups and organisations in Central Otago for networking, advice and business support. Find out details of when and where they meet and how you can contact them. Read More

Economic Development Strategy
The Economic Development strategy’s key purpose is to help the Central Otago community focus on issues that impact on our economic and social well-being, and to suggest some of the actions we can take over the next few years to address them. Read More
Central Otago Food & Wine
Central Otago Food & Wine Central Otago is a place of sheer indulgence – whether it’s fine dining, a casual al-fresco lunch or café culture. You will be spoilt for choice when enjoying local fare and award winning wines at the great selection of cafés, restaurants, cellar doors and country pubs. Read More

Central Otago Towns
Central Otago Towns To travel to Central Otago is to journey into New Zealand’s golden heartland. Its many towns and settlements are founded on the pioneering spirit and back-breaking toil of farming run-holders and adventure-seeking gold miners. These places lie nestled amid the grandeur of towering mountain ranges, stunning rocky tors, sweeping plains, valleys, gorges and meandering and mighty rivers. Read More

Cycle Central Otago
Cycle Central Otago The entire region is criss-crossed with smaller cycling and mountain biking trails for the adventurous or the leisure cyclist and there are lengths to suit any time you might have available. Whether you’re looking to take a holiday with the family, a weekend with friends or a romantic escape, cycling in Central Otago offers something different and memorable. Read More
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