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, Central Otago is less populated now but still characterised by geography and a different kind of gold – the fine pinot noir wine that has become Central Otago’s 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 - 1.7 people per square kilometre - the landscape is unencumbered by human activity, and the unhurried lifestyle offers time to explore the 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 keen leisure cyclists and two new trails – the Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold cycle and walking trails – have added considerably to the opportunities to explore Central Otago.