Central Otago is a powerful landscape, sunny, dry and brown with weathered ancient mountains, alpine herb fields and fast flowing rivers.
In the 1860’s this was a place of gold; you can still pan for it, in amongst the miners' old trails, stone cottages and relics of mine machinery.But the gold today, in Central Otago is wine. Pinot Noir, that most fickle of grape varieties, excels in these southernmost vineyards and most of the wineries will welcome you for tours and tastings.
Many tourists hire a motorhome. This way you can see some of the region’s more remote sights; incredible scenery that you will often have to yourself. Go wildflower walking in Alexandra, take a cruise on Lakes Dunstan and Roxburgh, or for another form of transport entirely, go biking along the Central Otago Rail Trail. The 150 km trail follows the route of the old railway and you cycle from station to station staying in places little touched by modern hustle and bustle.
Accommodation in Central Otago ranges from the luxury lodges set in inspiring locations through to character B&B’s, historic backpackers, country pubs, motels and camping grounds. Wherever you stay you will be welcomed.
- Allow 1 ½ hours to drive from Queenstown airport to Alexandra. Dunedin airport is a 2 ½ hour drive away.
- The region is readily accessible by main highways from Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Queenstown and the West Coast via Wanaka.
- Many small towns do not have petrol pumps, so make sure you fill your vehicle before visiting more remote areas.
- During winter - June to August - road conditions will demand extra care and attention by drivers. Ice and snow can be expected.