friendship force

New Zealand

Otago

  • Official club name: The Friendship Force of Otago 
  • Closest major airport: Christchurch International Airport over 400 km (250 miles) away.
  • Closest regional airport: Dunedin Airport, which also has flights from Australia, about 40 km (25 miles) away.
  • Cost of transportation between the local airport and our city: About $NZ20 per person. 
  • Maximum number of Ambassadors our club can host: 15-20

About the club

The club began as the Dunedin Club in 2006 and, since then, has had two name changes, the most recent in 2010 to the Otago Club.  Otago covers an area of approximately 32,000 square kilometres (12,000 sq mi) and we have two bases, one in Dunedin and the other in Alexandra.  The distance between the two is a 2.5 hour drive and, because the ambassadors are spread between the two, we endeavour to have a combined function at a central point. 

About the region

The vastness of Otago, the country's second largest region, has a population of approximately 210,000.  Otago spreads from the Pacific Ocean to the mountains and is the adventure capital of New Zealand.  The major residential centres of the province include Dunedin (the principal city), Oamaru (made famous by author Janet Frame), Balclutha, Alexandra, and the major tourist centres of Queenstown and Wanaka.  Kaitangata in South Otago is a prominent source of coal.  The Waitaki and Clutha Rivers provide much of the country's hydroelectric power.

Otago has a diversity of industries, the main ones are sheep and cattle farming, forestry, horticulture, wineries, gold mining and technology.  New Zealand's first university, the University of Otago, was founded in 1869 as the provincial university in Dunedin.  It attracts 20,000 students to the city each year.  The Central Otago wine area produces award-winning wines made from grape varieties such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Riesling.   Central Otago has an increasing reputation as New Zealand's leading Pinot Noir region.

Our area lends itself to water sports, e.g., fishing, boating and water-skiing, to mountains where there are walking tracks, snow skiing and scenery as well as adventure sports like bungy jumping, mountain biking and 4WD off-road driving.  If you are really keen, there is the Otago Central Rail Trail for cycling and walking (150 km) and many marvellous golf courses to mention but a few of our attractions.

About a typical programme

Alexandra: Museum visit with a slideshow by a local geologist, perhaps a 4WD drive through the hills, a picnic in the Maniototo area, visit the Cromwell area, lots of food and chatting.

Dunedin: A Peninsula Day to the albatross colony and Nature's wonderland, Port Chalmers, Baldwin St (the steepest street in the world), Olveston, museums, gardens and again food and chat.

As indicated above, one day where the two groups meet.

Updated 16 February 2017

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