Student Life in Otago

Taking the next step into tertiary education is an exciting time. Being a student in Otago, you'll enjoy a welcoming, supportive and safe environment, with an endless amount of things to do on the weekend.

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Life in Dunedin

This city revolves around YOU! Dunedin is the student capital of New Zealand and one of the country’s best centres of learning. Home to about 25,000 students – approximately 20% of the city’s population – there’s a culture here which welcomes you with open arms.

Being a student in Dunedin can be as social, and full of events as it is academic and full of learning opportunities. A balance between life and study is exactly what’s needed to make sure you get the most out of your student experience.

Life at Otago Polytechnic is about more than just study and classes. It’s about making new friends, developing your own character, and finding out where you want to go in life.

Life in Central Otago

Central Otago offers a relaxed outdoor lifestyle. It’s a unique and beautiful place with much to offer. We have two campuses located in Central Otago. Our main campus in Cromwell is where you'll find a majority of programmes on offer, and our secondary campus in Wānaka is where our outdoor and snow sports students learn. Like many, you might come here to study and never want to leave.

Living in Central Otago means a safe, friendly environment where you will soon get to know the locals and enjoy the slower pace of living. Unless you’re an adrenalin junky of course, then you can live as extreme as you can handle! Central Otago is famous for its big skies and panoramic scenery, summer fruit and pinot noir wines.

With hot dry summers and beautiful snowy winters, it’s a land of extremes. Because of its sharply defined seasons, you’ll find yourself skiing and snowboarding in June, then hiking the trails and kayaking in January.

The best part, both our Cromwell, and Wānaka campuses are just an hours drive from Queenstown - News Zealand's adventure tourism capital - and hosts a busy domestic and international airport.

Learn amongst the landscape

Central Otago offers a diverse landscape, which is what makes it such a great place to live and study. High country farming students can use the land to their advantage, horticulture students can learn from the orchards and new horticulture facilities. Outdoor Adventure, Snow sport and Avalanche students who learn from our Wānaka campus get amongst surrounding mountains, trails rivers and powdery slopes - theres a lot of those in Central Otago.

If you’re about to embark on a programme or short course in Central Otago, our team can get you caught up the basics, accommodation, schooling for your family, leisure activities, medical centres and more.

Just get in touch

Welcome to Tertiary Study in Otago

Entering a new environment can be difficult at first. Go easy on yourself and give yourself time to adjust to your new surroundings, new city, and new people.

You may be away from home for the first time, living in Te Pā Tauira or in a new flat and this is a huge adjustment. A good settle-in time is a must! This is different for everyone, so take your time and don't force it.


“First year is your most exciting year, the second year you get yourself and the third year is like reading your own story, or watching your own movie. You look back and think, OMG I have achieved so much!”

Jessie-lee marsh

Applied Management & Civil Engineering

Have a look over our interactive map, make sure you know where you are going, and most importantly where you can go to ask questions.

Remember that your time studying is your own journey. Keep your goals in sight and adjust them as you travel along the study path.

Sometimes you will need to make some choices about which papers or which speciality to take, or where to apply for work experience. You may also experience doubts about whether you are taking the right programme.

Talk to your teachers and with the Careers Services team for advice and help with decision making. Often you can change direction in the first few weeks. Our Career Services team at Student Success can help you navigate your way to your goal and give advice and options for courses.

Explore our campuses

We’d love to give you a guided tour around our campuses, so you can get a real feel for what its like to be a student at Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin, Cromwell or Wanaka.