It’s about time to ‘Escape’
When it comes to New Zealand’s Great Ride’ cycle trails, Central Otago led the way with the establishment of New Zealand’s first major cycle trail - the Otago Central Rail Trail. Long before New Zealand’s government realised that cycle tourism was a good thing, a group of passionate Central Otago residents together with the Department of Conservation worked together and the Otago Central Rail Trail was born creating what we think of as not so much a trail but an escape route for people who lead crazy busy lives. This was the region’s Original Great Ride, and now there are two additional options – the Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold Trails. While you are in town – take the opportunity to get a taste of these stunning trails. Local operators offer clients a range of half and full day options, great gear to hire (including E-bikes) and they will soon have you off enjoying your own (slightly less challenging) cycle experience.
Learn more here.
World Class Wine
It’s about time to ‘Breathe’
Who doesn’t love an opportunity to enjoy some world class wines?
We are of the firm belief that although you can enjoy a Central Otago Pinot noir in lots of top bars and restaurants around the world, the very best place in the world to enjoy them is right here in Central Otago. The Pinot noir grape has been described as a ‘minx of a grape – it has serious attitude and thrives on stress’. Sounds a bit like a multi-sport enthusiast! But in this instance it is Central Otago’s location and environment that makes the difference. For those that like to fit in exercise with their wine tasting – the Four Barrels Walking Wine Trail is an 8km circuit that takes you to four fabulous Cellar Doors around Cromwell. For those that prefer a guided option – there are several companies that offer tours (that include a selection of the Bannockburn, Cromwell, Alexandra and Clyde cellar doors and tasting rooms. But then you may just have a favourite label you want to visit – for a list of options see here.
It’s about time to ‘Unwind’
If you like pedal power then you’re probably going to enjoy flatfooting it on a gas pedal and sucking up the G-forces as you accelerate your way around the track at Highlands. Highlands is where one man’s vision has created something exceptional. Highlands owner, Tony Quinn told people that he would build an international standard race track and visitor attraction within 18 months – and that’s just what he did. Located just on the outskirts of Cromwell this is where you will catch the fastest taxi in town (or actually one of the only taxis in Central Otago). What a great place to unleash your competitive spirit – whether it’s on the Go Kart track, the U-drive or even the supercar fast dash or fast taxi options in a Porsche Cayenne with your own professional race car driver. And if that’s not enough, the museum is jam-packed with a collection of high end racing cars and New Zealand racing memorabilia. A great place to while away some time.
Learn more here.
It's about time to ‘Marvel’
In Central Otago most small towns sprang up during the rush to find gold in the late 1860’s. In a region that is not blessed with trees for building houses, many of the more permanent structures were made of stone or mud brick. It is amazing to see these fabulous examples of historic architecture finding a new life in today’s modern world. Clyde’s main street is now an historic precinct – with many of the buildings being refurbished as cafes, bars and quality accommodation. When you’ve finished sleeping and eating, there are also gift shops and galleries, a movie theatre and cycle companies to explore. Ophir – which for many years had the claim of the coldest recorded temperature in New Zealand (until Ranfurly recently stole their title) is another town with an historic heart and more great places to dine and stay. And if time permits to head a bit farther afield – St Bathans and Naseby with their old country pubs will also delight. If you like ice with your drink – then get a team together and try your hand at Curling in Naseby – the country’s curling capital.
Learn more here.
It’s about time to ‘take a stroll’
So you want to go for a walk in the fresh Central Otago air – after all walking is good for the soul? Why choose the asphalt footpath option when there is a great choice of short walks around our towns. Some of our favourites are:
The Bannockburn Sluicings off Felton Road. Think moonscape for this track through the gold workings of Bannockburn. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the views over vineyards and orchards to Lake Dunstan and beyond.
Imagine standing beside an 11-meter high clock on the rocky faces of the hills overlooking Alexandra. A walking track accessed from the Shaky Bridge will get you there – but best be relatively fit as it is a short sharp climb.
Other options are the Clyde to Alexandra River Track – a 12-kilometre trail alongside the Clutha River, or the trails that will take you along the shorelines of Lake Dunstan between Pisa Moorings, Cromwell and Bannockburn.
Learn more here.
It’s about time for local advice
To get local advice on other things to do, pick up a map or find out more visit one of our Central Otago Visitor Centres.