Central Otago is a powerful landscape, sunny, dry and brown with weathered ancient mountains, alpine herb fields and fast flowing rivers.
In the 1860s this was a place of gold; you can still pan for it 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 offer tours and tastings.
Many Central Otago visitors hire a motorhome or mountain bike to explore the region at their own pace. This way you can see some of the region’s more remote sites, taste the seasonal flavours and absorb the incredible scenery that you will often have all to yourself.
The area is known for its cycle trails. The 150 km Otago Central Rail Trail follows the route of the old railway; cycle from station to station staying in places little touched by modern hustle and bustle. The Roxburgh Gorge Trail and Clutha Gold Trail also offer unique experiences deep in the heart of Central Otago.
Some of The Many Attractions
Explore Central Otago's 3 Great Rides
Central Otago is home to many spectacular cycling experiences, including the Otago Central Rail Trail, the Roxburgh Gorge Trail & the Clutha Gold Trail.
The Otago Central Rail Trail is a 150 km ride from Clyde to Middlemarch, which takes around 4 - 5 days. Amble past farmland, spectacular river gorges, preserved gold mining settlements and awe-inspiring scenery and enjoy gourmet food and wine on the way. This gentle gradient trail journey is ideal for beginner cyclists.
Central Otago is home to over 80 wineries & well-known for fresh produce & gourmet food
Famous for its production of Burgundy-style grapes, Central Otago produces world renowned Pinot-Noir. There’s no better climate to enjoy al-fresco dining than in Central Otago, where the food is made from fresh, seasonal ingredients. If the mood takes you, fill a backpack with a selection of gourmet foods, fresh fruit and a bottle of vintage Pinot-Noir and take to the hills for a picnic lunch.
Explore picturesque heritage towns
Many of the towns in Central Otago were established as a result of the gold rush. When visiting towns such as Ophir, Bannockburn, Clyde and Naseby and their surrounds it is easy to see their gold mining heritage. From the historic buildings, to the remains of gold mining such as the Bannockburn Sluicing Historic Reserve offering evidence of water races, dams, tunnels and shafts these areas are all testament to their golden history.
Check out the Tourism New Zealand website for more information about the amazing things to see and do in New Zealand