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In Central Otago you can experience true solitude and spectacular vistas in an inspiring place where the fascinating cultural history tells a story of human endurance against a ruggedly beautiful landscape.
Offering a true escape from urban hustle, Central Otago covers 10,000 square kilometres yet has fewer than 17,000 permanent residents. Central Otago is home to small towns where visitors can enjoy southern hospitality juxtaposed against a beautiful and harsh landscape of rugged hills and plains: this is New Zealand’s hottest, coldest and driest region.
Alexandra The service centre for surrounding orchards and vineyards, Alexandra is a good place for exploring gold-mining history or shopping for crafts.
Clyde The site of an impressive hydro-electric dam.
Cromwell This town on the shores of Lake Dunstan contains a quaint little historic quarter called Old Cromwell Town. There is a good range of accommodation and shopping.
Ranfurly The main centre of Maniototo has Art Deco architecture dating back to the 1930s. Explore old gold-mining townships or watch curling at Naseby in winter.
Cycle the Otago Central Rail Trail. Soak up the atmosphere in Old Cromwell Town. Sample Pinot Noir. Explore the rugged Central Otago landscape on a four-wheel-drive tour. Discover old mine workings from the gold rush of the 19th Century.
The stark landscape of Central Otago is a place of extremes. Alexandra is both one of the hottest places in the country in summer, and one of the coldest in the winter, often enduring visually spectacular frosts. A point near the historic town of Cromwell, meanwhile, is 119 kilometres from the ocean. In island New Zealand, standing there is as far as you can ever get from the sea.