Otago is a region of New Zealand in the south of the South Island. It has an area of approximately 32,000 square kilometres making it the country's second largest region. It has a population of 203,500 from the June 2008 estimate.
The name "Otago" is an old southern Maori word whose North Island dialect equivalent is "Otakou", introduced to the south by Europeans in the 1840s. "Otago" is also the old name of the European settlement on the Otago Harbour, established by the Weller Brothers in 1831.
Major centres of what is now the Otago Region of the old province include Dunedin (the principal city of the region), Oamaru (made famous by Janet Frame), Balclutha, Alexandra, and the major tourist centres Queenstown and Wanaka.
New Zealand's first university, The University of Otago, was founded in 1869 as the provincial university in Dunedin.
The Central Otago area produces award winning wines made from varieties such as the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Riesling grapes. Central Otago has an increasing reputation as New Zealand's leading pinot noir region.
Climate and Geography
Weather conditions vary enormously across Otago, but can be broken into two broad types: the coastal climate of the coastal regions and the more continental climate of the interior.
Otago, New Zealand offers a wide range of transport options for visitors including rental cars, motorhomes & campervans and bus & coach services.
EntertainmentOtago has all the entertainment attractions to suit all tastes and budgets including theatre, opera, music, concerts, family shows, free events, movies, nightlife, pubs, casinos, gambling and horse racing.