Dunedin: The Region
Dunedin is the second largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and is the principal city of the Otago region. Maori first settled along this eastern coast between 1250 and 1300 AD. In 1650 they settled the area now known as Dunedin but abandoned this site before the Scottish settlers arrived in 1848.
These hardy Scottish explorers shaped the look and feel of todays Dunedin which is known as the Edinburgh of the South. Dunedinites are proud of their Scottish ancestry and the scottish influence is everywhere from the statue of Robbie Burns overlooking the Octagon to the local rugby team known as the "Highlanders".
Dunedin is a city of colour and energy. The principal industry is tertiary education with the University of Otago having a long and distinguished history – currently with around 22,000 students. Not surprisingly Dunedin is a city strong on creative enterprise including internationally recognised software development and fashion design.
The city has great cultural scope with numerous art galleries and museums alongside world class shopping, markets and nightlife. If urban isn’t your preference, within 10 minutes from the central city you can be walking on a beautiful beach or hiking through native bush or exploring the Otago penninsula to see Royal Albatross, seals and bird life not found anywhere else in the country.
Dunedin is also a great base to explore the surrounding hinterland where some of the region’s most spectacular scenic treasures await you, most notably the Catlins area is a sanctuary of native bush and remote beaches with wonderful animal and bird life not found anywhere else in the country.
Central Otago: The Region
The region of Otago offers abundant natural scenic wonders including mountains, lakes, beaches and native bush as well as the bright lights of colourful towns and cities. As one of the earliest areas settled by Europeans in New Zealand, Otago has a wealth of fascinating urban and rural history as well as a full event calender of food, wine, culture, horticulture, fashion and many other wonderful experiences. Let us help you discover what's on while you are in Otago to make the most of your time in the region.
The towns of Alexandra and Clyde were born of the gold rush of 1862. Tent cities sprang up virtually overnight to accommodate fortune seekers from all over the world. Nowadays Central Otago is renowned for its spectacular scenery and dramatic seasons.
The summers here are very hot and dry, and the winters cold and snowy. With the benefit of low rainfall, and high sunshine hours outweighing the risk of frosts, this is the perfect region for the creation of high quality fruit driven wines.
Consequently Central Otago is internationally renowned as a specialist wine growing region. The mountain ranges shelter the region from coastal weather and provide the basis of a true continental climate that is unique in New Zealand. It is very similar to the other great grape growing regions of the world such as Burgundy, Alsace, and the Willamette Valley in Oregon. At southern latitude 45° south, Central Otago vineyards form the world's southernmost winemaking region. The vines are planted amongst spectacular alpine scenery and are the highest in New Zealand, with most vineyards located between 200 and 400 metres above sea level.
Although small, Central Otago is a rapidly developing wine growing region, with an international reputation for some of the best Pinot Noir in the world. More than 70% of grapes grown in Central Otago are Pinot Noir, with other varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Riesling. Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer are grown to a lesser extent.
Across this region there are a number of sub-regions all with their particular strength reflecting the terroir (land, climate and viticultural practices) of their region. Pinot Noir grown in the Alexandra basin is aromatic, complex and consistent. Alexandra was built on gold mining and it seems grapes grown in gold make gold medal winning wines!
If you are not used to driving on the left hand side of the road or in a largely rural roading network please click the link below for helpful information.