Experience Central

Central offers international students a spectacular experience. Study in a natural paradise – Central Otago, New Zealand. Learn valuable skills in a safe and friendly environment, gain a high quality education and make your overseas experience truly unique.

Central Otago is the heart of New Zealand’s South Island. ‘Central’ is a campus of Otago Polytechnic, set within  a breath-taking landscape of mountains, lakes and rivers. In your free time, the region has plenty to offer –hiking, skiing, mountain-biking, watersports, bungy-jumping, exploring Central Otago’s historic goldfields, visiting wineries – and much more.

Our programmes are practical and give you the skills you need for your career. You can gain certificates and diplomas in a range of subjects – from snowsports to viticulture.

If you wish to study a skill while improving your English language, we offer programmes in English PLUS horticulture, viticulture, cookery, sports turf management and outdoor leadership. You will study for the Certificate in International Education Abroad, which combines English and your chosen subject. A unique feature of the horticulture and viticulture areas is that you can earn while you learn, with a work component in the summer picking cherries, then in the autumn harvesting grapes.

Study at Central – learn it here, love it here! 

Find out more about what you can study at Central, what it’s like living here, and how to reach our campus.

Ready to apply?

Applying to study at Central is easy. Just follow this step by step guide.

Need help?

Talk to us. Please contact us at the details in the footer below. We welcome your enquiries and would love to hear from you OR talk to an agent in your area. Our agents can help explain the programmes to you in your own language and can also help with your application to Otago Polytechnic.

Getting here

Central is located in Cromwell, in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island. We are easy to reach from Dunedin, Christchurch or Queenstown international airports.

Cromwell is a township of around 4,000 permanent residents that swells to 7,000 during the peak summer season. The town has beautiful stone buildings and heritage sites, but also offers modern services, supermarkets, shops, cafes and sports facilities.

Wanaka is just a 40-minute drive from Cromwell. It has a resident population of about 8000, but this swells in both summer and winter with New Zealand and international visitors attracted to its natural beauty and wealth of outdoor activities.

Wanaka is the hub for our outdoor programmes, and is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park.

Arriving in New Zealand

When flying to New Zealand, most international flights arrive at Auckland International Airport, while some airlines (such as Singapore Airlines and Emirates) fly into Christchurch International Airport, which is closer. From Auckland or Christchurch, you can catch a connecting flight to Queenstown. Central campus, based in Cromwell, is approximately 45 minutes' drive from Queenstown.

Let us know when you are arriving and we can arrange to meet you at Queenstown Airport and take you to your accommodation. We will help you get settled in - like making sure you have groceries - and talk to you about what to expect in your first few days at Central.

Quick facts about getting to Central

  • Distance from Queenstown: 45 minutes’ drive
  • Distance from Dunedin: Three hours’ drive
  • Distance from Christchurch: Five hours’ drive
  • Closest airports: Queenstown, Dunedin, Christchurch
  • Travelling from Dunedin: Bus (approx. $33 one-way), or rental car (prices start at around $30 a day).
  • Travelling from Queenstown airport: Bus (approx. $17 one-way), taxi (approx. $200) or rental car (prices start at around $30 a day).
  • Travelling from Christchurch: Bus (approx. $52 one-way) or rental car (prices start at around $30 a day).

Before you leave home

This is an exciting time and we look forward to meeting you when you arrive in New Zealand! Before you leave home, there are a few things you will need to consider.