South Otago, South Island, New Zealand

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South Otago (Clutha)

The South Otago area is located south of Dunedin. A white sandy coastline stretches out into the distance surrounded by forests, rivers and abundant wildlife.

South Otago is dominated by three main topographic features. To the south is the rough bush country of the Catlins, with its forests and rugged coastline. To the north of that the land is mainly rolling hill country, bisected by the floodplains of several large rivers. With the exception of this flat, fertile area, South Otago is quite sparsely populated due to relatively cold winters, geographical isolation and lack of a decent port.

Balclutha is the main town in South Otago, it lies near the mouth of the Clutha River on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is about halfway between Dunedin and Invercargill. Balclutha has a population of about 4100, and is the largest town in South Otago. A service town for the fertile farming region around the lower reaches of the Clutha River, it is also the nearest large centre to the Catlins, a scenic region of forest, wildlife, and rugged coastline.

The spectacular scenery of Central Otago makes the upper Clutha a popular holiday destination, especially for adventure tourism. Jet boating, waterskiing, bungy jumping and parapenting facilities are all to be found close to the river, and Lake Dunstan is also an important rowing venue. Several major ski courses are found close to the river. Curling is also played close to the Clutha in the harsh South Otago winters. The Clutha district also provides rural experiences, superb fishing and wildlife adventures along majestic sweeping beaches, this area is also known as the gateway to the Southern Scenic Route.

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