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Otago

This area begins south of the Waitaki River and extends west and south to include Central Otago, Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown, and Lake Wanaka - all areas that attract visitors in their thousands. Otago's chief urban centre is the city of Dunedin, founded by Scottish settlers in 1848. The first settlers planned to farm the land. Then gold was discovered in Central Otago in 1861 and resulted in Dunedin becoming very prosperous. When the gold ran out fruit farming became the mainstay of Central Otago, but now vineyards and tourist centres vie with fruit growing in the area.

Wanaka draws visitors for its beauty, for boating, walking, tramping and climbing and in the winter for skiing on the Cardrona and Treble Cone skifields. The headquarters for Mount Aspiring National Park is in Wanaka. It is also the starting point for the Haast Pass Road to the West Coast.

Queenstown on Lake Wakatipu has highly developed tourism programmes, from trips on the old Steamer, "Earnslaw", to jet boating, white water rafting, bungy jumping, and tramping. Glenorchy at the head of Lake Wakatipu and Arrowtown a short distance from Queenstown both attract many tourists. Glenorchy is the gateway to the Routeburn Track, a three-day tramp across the Harris Saddle to the Te Anau-Milford Road.

The famous autumn colours on the trees in Central Otago, especially at Lake Hayes, attract photographers every year.

Of the smaller Otago towns Oamaru on State Highway One is well known especially for its whitestone buildings, and its penguin colony.

The mighty Clutha River is in Otago and the Clyde Dam and the Roxburgh power station were built on the river, amid much opposition because of the fertile land that was flooded to build it.

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