Get Lost in Central Otago


Central Otago travel blog

Step away from the normal tourist route and lose yourself in the unspoiled beauty of Central Otago. With unbelievable landscapes, wineries, fresh produce, boutique accommodation, country pubs and over 300km of cycle and walking tracks this region is the perfect escape to get away from it all.

Central Otago is the inland part of the New Zealand region of Otago. The area is the gateway to the Queenstown-Lakes District. The region is readily reachable by main highways from Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Queenstown and the West Coast via Wanaka.

Activities in this region range from horse trekking, wine tours, Lord of the Rings scenic tours, cycling, hiking and scenic flights.

Accommodation choices include motels, luxury lodges, farmstays, vineyard cottages, backpackers, campgrounds and historic country pubs.

Hiking & Biking

The 4 main cycle trails in Central Otago are the Otago Central Rail Trail, Roxburgh Gorge Trail, Clutha Gold Trail and the Lake Dunstan Trail. Each trail has been specifically created for mountain bikers, walkers and horse riders.

Gold Mining History

First significant European occupation came with the discovery of gold at Gabriel’s Gully in 1861, which led to the Central Otago Goldrush. Other towns and villages include Alexandra, Arrowtown, Bannockburn, Clyde, Cromwell, Hawea, Millers Flat, Naesby, Otuerhua, Ranfurly, Roxburgh, St Bathans and Wedderburn. Today you can explore the region and learn about it’s interesting history.

Food & Drink

Central Otago is the world’s southernmost commercial wine production region. World-famous for Pinot-Noir, the region also produces several varieties of wines. Being one the country’s largest stone fruit producers in the summer, as well as apples and pears in autumn treat yourself to cherries, apricots, plums, nectarines and premium Sargol Saffron just to name a few. In summer these fruits can be purchased from an abundant of roadside stalls. Combine premium locally grown food and award-winning beer and wine, the produce often features on the menus of local restaurants, cafes and supermarkets. 

Clutha River

The Clutha River is the 2nd longest river in New Zealand and the longest in the South Island. The waters of the Upper Clutha are clear turquoise, the result of glacial and snow-melt filtering when the water flows through Lake Wanaka. This is a rare characteristic for a high volume river. The river offers some of the best salmon fishing in the world, and in the surrounding lakes you can fly-fish for rainbow and brown trout.