Located further from the sea than anywhere else in New Zealand, Central Otago has New Zealand’s hottest, coldest and driest climate. Once crowded with gold-rush fortune seekers, the region is less populated today but still characterised by its geography and a different kind of gold – the fine Pinot Noir wine that is now its number one claim to fame.
Central Otago can be divided into five sub-regions – Cromwell, Alexandra, Manuherikia, Roxburgh and Maniototo – each with distinctive characteristics and attractions. With one of New Zealand’s lowest population densities, of 1.7 people per square kilometre, the landscape is unencumbered by human activity and the unhurried lifestyle invites visitors to explore the region's geography, history and award-winning vineyards.
The region is also known as a cycling destination. The multi-day Otago Central Rail Trail is popular with leisure cyclists, and two new trails – the Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold cycling and walking trails – have added considerably to the opportunities to explore Central Otago.