"Otago Gold" Top 5 Page for this destination Otago by TheWanderingCamel

Otago Travel Guide: 1,624 reviews and 4,330 photos

"The Colour"

Visit the beautiful Central Otago region of Zealand's South Island in autumn (April and May here in the Southern Hemisphere) and you could be forgiven for thinking that the references to 'The Colour"are all about the colour that paints the landscape in every shade of gold imaginable, from the palest creamy gold of the tussock grass that covers the bare hillsides through to the blazing yellows of the stands of poplars. This is a golden land if ever there was one.

Golden hues wash over the hills and valleys of Otago, where once men undertook journeys and withstood harsh conditions that tested their strength and endurance far more than any of the extreme sports that now attract tourists in great numbers to this place. The thrills and spills the tourists are seeking are nothing like as alluring as the promise of wealth that drew those men - and their wives and children - to the New Zealand Gold Rush of the 1860s. Gold was "the colour" that filled their dreams and tales of rivers that ran with gold lured them on.

The Rush was fabulously rich - and very short-lived. Fortunes were made but lives were lost and hearts were broken in the quest. Many moved on once the Rush was over - new fields in Australia promised their own colour - and townships that once housed hundreds in little stone and wooden houses - and thousands in calico tents - shrank to tiny hamlets, whilst others were left to the ghosts alone.

The history and romance of that era is easy to find nowadays - and there's something for everyone. Picturesque little Arrowtown - full of shops and tour buses - is the most "touristy", and certainly the busiest, of all the places you'll find but there are plenty of other sites, some very isolated and evocative, each with their own tales to tell.

The Rush reversed

The 1860s Gold Rush saw the wealth of the region being removed. Nowadays the Rush is flowing the other way as the numbers of visitors increases every year, drawn by all the region has to offer. Otago really does have something for everyone. Whether your taste is for adventure tourism - this is the home of white-knuckle attractions such as bungey-jumping and jet-boat rides - terror tourism of every kind is on offer here - and backpacker hostels, or the more genteel pleasures offered by the stunning scenery, excellent vineyards, the golden past, looking for Middle Earth and Narnia, crystal clear trout streams, luxury lodges and cosy farmstays, winter snowsports or summertime lake cruises - it's all here.

I have to say, I feel now is the time to come. Having just returned from our biennial visit to the region ( Wanaka's Warbirds are our excuse) the growth in tourism is really noticeable and there were places and times when we felt it would not be long before the pressure of that increase would begin to really tell.

Of course it's all relative ....


  • Last visit to Otago: Apr 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (27)

Travelogues (1)

Comments (12)

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    Jun 30, 2008 at 1:36 PM

    I visited South Island when Chirac resumed nuke tests; French were not welcomed with open arms. . . but . . . rugby, peace! Arriving to Cardrona from the high road is a great souvenir! Thanks for awaking so many souvenirs in this beautiful page Leyle!

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    May 4, 2008 at 1:15 PM

    Wow, superb photo of the NZ peregrine falcon! If I visit NZ, I will have to try the cheeses!

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Jan 19, 2008 at 4:54 AM

    Excellent tips on Otago. Stunning and rugged scenery. Bring back fond Kiwi memories. I was in Wanaka Puzzle House and went through the maze.

  • kyoub's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2007 at 1:22 PM

    Beautiful country. Gold is a very good color. Excellent photos.New Zealand is high on my list of places yet to visit.

  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2006 at 4:29 AM

    I just enjoyed a pie at the Arrowtown Bakery! What type of camera do you use?

  • Tina-Perth's Profile Photo
    May 1, 2006 at 1:47 AM

    What a lovely looking spot! I'm with you on the NZ white wines and Pinot Noirs, they're excellent. There sure was a lot of gold in that river!

  • thedouglas's Profile Photo
    Apr 29, 2006 at 2:30 AM

    Ditto the fantastic pics! I just love a woman who can coordinate her colours too!

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2006 at 11:34 PM

    fantastic pix wonderful time to travel in OOOOOtagOOOOO ^..^ you choosen a great time, the region is flooded since Thursday!

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2006 at 3:52 AM

    Stop it - I want to catch a flight immediately to this still unexplored (for me) part of the world!! One of the best pages I have read in a long time, with beautiful photos and extremely interesting information!

  • cnango's Profile Photo
    Apr 27, 2006 at 9:15 PM

    Absolutely FANTASTIC page here Leslie !! So much info & gr8 pics. I only got thru "things to Do' I 'll be back for more !!! BTW cheers for 'the plug' ; )

TheWanderingCamel Visits Here Frequently!

Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 0 2 6
Forum Rank:
0 0 0 6 3

Badges & Stats in Otago

  • 37 Reviews
  • 126 Photos
  • 8 Forum posts
  • 2,167PageViews
  • 1 Cities

Have you been to Otago?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Otago

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)