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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.
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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