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The Route

Stretching from the wild, Pacific Ocean coast, across the high country to the mountains.

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Slow down, discover our places and meet our people

The Otago is region full of natural grandeur, captivating history, and diverse arts, culture and cuisine.


A journey of 3–5 days is recommended to relax, soak up the scenery and take in top attractions along the way

Rewarding detours lead to more special corners of Otago such as Naseby, Roxburgh, Glenorchy and Wanaka

Storyboards at heritage sites and viewpoints share many fascinating tales from Otago’s past and present

Accommodation ranges from simple camping and lodges to upmarket motels and apartments

Wonderful seasonal events are held throughout the year – try timing your visit to join in

Suggested itineraries cater to all interests, abilities and itineraries – visit the website to start planning

Fuel stops & other services including EV charging points can be found at convenient locations along the route

Roads can be icy or snowbound in winter – seek local advice, stay alert and drive to the conditions

History and Heritage

This part of Te Waipounamu/the South Island was first settled by Māori who lived in the coastal settlements of Otakou/Otago and travelled inland for seasonal food gathering. Pākehā arrived as sealers and whalers, then farmers, but it was the 1860’s goldrush that laid the foundations of the region you see today.

Dunedins museums and remarkable architecture tell of the region’s history as New Zealand’s first big city, built on wool and gold. Today, it is renowned for special wildlife, spectacular beaches and thriving urban culture.

The moa hunters were first to venture into the mountainous interior we now know as Central Otago. Following in their footsteps were the surveyors, pastoralists and prospectors, some of whom stayed to make their homes in and around Clyde, Alexandra, Cromwell and other towns.

Others travelled even further inland, through the narrows of the dramatic Kawarau Gorge to the breathtaking Wakatipu Basin. The courageous spirit and toughness of those early explorers and settlers helped shape Queenstown into one the world’s most loved outdoor adventure resorts.

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