Exploring Central Otago

Central Otago – affectionately known as ‘Central’ – is home to welcoming rural outposts where you can enjoy the famous southern hospitality in the utmost comfort.

Enjoy a cold beer at an historic pub on a scorching summer’s day, or a warming glass of the local Pinot Noir wine before a stone fireplace on a winter’s evening while you plan your next adventure – playing a round of golf at one of 11 regional golf courses, experiencing a 4WD escapade, trying the ancient winter ice sport of curling, or just relaxing away from cell phone coverage.

Do & Discover

Built along a disused rail trail from the Gold Rush era, the 150-kilometre Otago Central Rail Trail is popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders. With great scenery, history and accommodation along the way, this outdoor adventure is highly recommended. This is one of New Zealand’s youngest wine-growing regions, but it is establishing itself as a producer of excellent Pinot Noir. Most wineries are in the Cromwell Basin, but there are others further south, near Alexandra and Clyde. Wineries to visit include Carrick Wines or Mt Difficulty Wines. You can also explore Central Otago’s heritage at the Alexandra Museum & Art Gallery, or on the road with Central Otago Motorcycle Tours. Try winter sports at the Naseby Indoor Curling Rink or Naseby Ice Luge, or head upriver with Goldfields Jet.

Food & Drink

The options might be limited around these parts, but Central Otago’s cafés and restaurants punch well above their weight. Grab yourself at coffee at Bank Café in Clyde, E-Central Café while in Ranfurly, or Grain & Seed Café, housed in a former grain store in Old Cromwell Town. There are some very appealing restaurants in the region, too. Try Black Forest Café in Naseby, Feast Bar & Dining in Cromwell, or Thai Crom, again in Cromwell. Shaky Bridge Vineyard Café is also worth seeking out for dishes prepared from local ingredients and served in a spectacular setting.


From lakeside lodgings to country retreats, cottages and hotels – there’s plenty of places to rest your head in Central Otago. Try comfortable motel-style accommodation at Alexandra Heights Motel, Asure Central Gold Motel, or Lake Roxburgh Lodge, settle in at Cromwell Top 10 Holiday Park, rent one of the Wedderburn Cottages, or if you’re looking for a hotel, try Danseys Pass Coach Inn, Golden Gate Lodge in Cromwell, Olivers Central Otago in Clyde, or the Vulcan Hotel at St Bathans.

Local Knowledge

Look up an i-SITE Visitor Information Centre in Alexandra, 21 Centennial Avenue, Cromwell, 47 The Mall, or Ranfurly at 3 Charlemont Street East.

Want more? Get the New Zealand Travel Guide delivered to your device for extensive listings, invaluable contacts, insider travel tips and New Zealand’s best-kept travel secrets. Purchase and download the New Zealand Travel Guide e-Book here.