Relaxed pace and unrivalled scenery
New Zealand’s first university, the University of Otago, was founded in 1869 as the provincial university in Dunedin. Still active and highly regarded today, it attracts over 20,000 students that make a little under 1/5 of Dunedin’s population. The city is consequently known to be a very young and dynamic cultural centre. The region’s scenery has also been an inspiration to local and overseas artists for decades.
While a over half of Otago’s population resides in Dunedin, the rest is spread across smaller towns such as scenic Queenstown or Wanaka, homes to winter/summer mountain and lake sports, Alexandra, or coastal Oamaru.
Otago has two main types of terrain and climate. The West consists of high Alpine mountains and dramatic valleys (cities Queenstown & Wanaka). Further East, vast drylands (tussock grasslands) in the centre (cities Alexandra & Cromwell), extensive coastline in the far East (Dunedin & Oamaru), and the Caitlins, a rough hill country in the South East.
Climate varies accordingly with mild coastal weather versus hot/dry summer and cold, frosty winter further inland. As for other New Zealand regions, Otago offers a whole range of outdoor activities, with skiing/ice skating in winter, and water sports and hiking in summer.