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Travel Guide

Otago art and culture trail

  • 4 minutes

South Island, New Zealand

In this Article

Exploring studios, galleries and finding a great cafe

Where to go to find an original fabulous art piece is the perpetual question facing culture lovers, art collectors and the curious seeking the original, the new and the extraordinary piece that sings to your soul. Take a holiday exploring art and culture in Central Otago. It is a journey of discovering talent and creativity while savouring the landscape that nurtures imagination. The landscape is unique in New Zealand with its lack of trees and bush. The dominant vegetation is tussock, native grasses and rock are all its vibrant hues.

Austere, rugged solitary landscapes are a smorgasbord of sensations for the creative soul. Seasonal changes, soft lighting rising over the hills and space to call your own is the siren call of central Otago.


Year round.

  • Summer produce bounty
  • Winter remember back country roads could be closed due to weather however the snow dusted scenery is a chocolate box image


For the art and culture buffs Otago is the place to go. Otago continues to attract individuals willing to challenge the limits to attain their personal best. Resilient souls trudged through the harsh terrain in search of gold. Their legacy is found in buildings now occupied by creative people who are inspired by stories of hardship and determination.


Landscape painting, fine art printmakers in mediums from oils, watercolours, photography and multimedia materials. Pottery to glass objects and pieces are part of creative Otago. Jewellery sits alongside sculpture and quirky interpretations of place and time are all vying for attention from visitors interested in art and culture.

Take a forever memory object of creative Otago and explore the spirit and talents in small towns.



Your way could be a road trip, kayaking the rivers born in the Southern Alps or cycling the trails where skies stretching out beyond visible horizons add to holiday excitement. What is around the next corner, what to discover the next day or more. You will be tempted by award winning wines and boutique food producers to sample, taste and savour while enjoying the fruits of your holiday. Forget bungee jumping, leave that to Queenstown adrenaline junkie seekers. Life is about the extraordinary and you are in the right place, Central Otago.



  • Two world class cycle trails, Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold. Diverse cycle trails 117km in length with plenty of places to stop, linger and explore as the trails trace the Mighty Clutha River.
  • Orchards and roadside stalls in the Teviot Valley where a microclimate pops the sweetness into the Roxburgh apricot and winter bite the crispness into the apple.
  • Roxburgh Jimmy pies, a local staple
  • Catch up with the past at the Teviot Museum
  • Try your hand at gold panning
  • Summer 4WD safaris following the footsteps of nineteenth century gold miners and pastoralists

For more holiday ideas check What’s so great about Roxburgh.

Clutha River, Alexandra heritage bridge arch a memorial to 19th century, Alexandra, Otago, New Zealand
Clutha River


Lake Dunstan, New Zealand
Lake Dunstan



  • Clock Hill walk for views and a selfie
  • Nearby vineyards for a leisurely lunch
  • Central Stories Museum & Art Gallery


  • Lake Dunstan part of the Clyde Dam project, swimming, kayaking or simply a stroll around the dam
  • Easter and the Clyde Wine and Food Harvest Festival


  • One of New Zealand’s oldest post offices (1886), do a classic write a postcard and get it stamped with a pick and shovel symbol
  • Visit Ophir’s suspension bridge and admire how the bridge becomes part of the rock landscape

Chatto Creek

  • Tiger Hills is a photographers must go destination, the light, the austere rock and tussock landscape


  • Magnificent St Peter’s catholic church on the hilltop to the north of the town, sweeping views and beautiful old building
  • Missing your golf course then enjoy a game of golf at the 9-hole golf course with views worth the detour
Ophir Historic Bridge, New Zealand
Ophir Historic Bridge


Ranfurly tourist information center situated on Central Otago Railway bicycle trail in New Zealand
Ranfurly tourist information center



  • Glorious visitor centre located in original railway station and sit in an old fashioned railway carriage for the best selfie
  • Beautiful art deco building Centennial Bar for an ice cream
  • Introduce yourself to the Real Dog Huskie team for serious make out time


  • Try a new sport curling
  • 4WD tours of the backcountry


  • Enjoy a classic kiwi roast dinner with all the trimmings with a glass of local award winning pinot or your favourite fruit juices. The historic Wedderburn Tavern (1885) a waystop on the goldfields route is a favourite place for Otago Rail Trail cyclists to take a break.


  • Visit Hamilton’s cemetery, there is no town, just a reminder of the short lived gold rush and the people left behind

Danseys Pass

  • Heritage hotel, low slung schist building with redwood grove


Classic Sports Car Museum NZ, New Zealand @Highlands Museum
Classic Sports Car Museum NZ @Highlands Museum
  • The Highlands Classic Sports Car Museum
  • Lake Dunstan’s short Cromwell to Bannockburn Lakeside is a flat, easy ride through wide open landscapes to scenic Lake Dunstan.
  • Bannockburn sluicing scenic reserve is a great photo moment with elevated views of vineyards
  • Bшкв watchers must do destination is the significant Bendigo Wetlands

For more information about Cromwell check out:


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Explore back roads, support emerging and established artists and purchase directly from their working studios. Combined with boutique restaurants, cafés or wineries in Central Otago the perfect art and cultural holiday destination is sorted.

For more information or support building the perfect escape contact PacificJane team and start the journey now.


Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.

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