Central Otago

Central Otago, NZ

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

    The area is dominated by mountain ranges and the upper reaches of the Clutha River and tributaries. The wide flat plateau of the Maniototo which lies between the upper reaches of the Taieri River and the Clutha's northern tributary the Manuherikia is also usually considered part of Central Otago.

    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. 

    The Taieri Gorge Railway takes you on a journey through the rugged and spectacular Taieri River Gorge from Dunedin's historic Railway Station to Middlemarch. This train journey can connect to the Otago Rail Trail.

    Step away from the normal tourist route and lose yourself in the unspoiled beauty of the Central Otago back country.

    Cycle through the heart of Central Otago  

    The Otago Rail Trail  can be accessed throughout the year, and has been specifically created for mountain bikers, walkers and horse riders. The Trail follows the old Central Otago branch railway line from Clyde to Middlemarch passing though many towns along the way.  The Rail Trail is a public reserve, and motorised vehicles are not permitted on the Trail.

    Recently the cool climate varieties Riesling and Pinot Noir have been recognised as being especially suitable, and as the vines age Central Otago Wines can be expected to improve even further, as the plantings are new and increasing rapidly. Central Otago is the world's southernmost commercial wine production region.

    Activities in this region include horse trekking, wine tours, Lord of the Rings scenic tours, scenic flights

    Accommodation choices include motels, luxury lodges, farmstays, holiday resorts and historic country pubs.

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