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.
Dunedin’s 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.