Central Otago

The vivid definitions of nature in Central Otago have long inspired photographers and artists, and being less than 90 minutes’ drive from Wānaka, is an exceptional day trip of historic and striking proportions.

So close and yet a world of difference away, Central Otago is world renowned for its Pinot Noir and other extreme climate varieties such as Riesling. A wine tour from Wānaka to Bannockburn and Cromwell will introduce you to some of the world’s best Pinot Noir, and astound you with the dramatic variety of landscapes in this austerely beautiful region. A perfect loop trip from Wānaka to Central Otago and back through Tarras includes the boutique and iconic wine areas of Bannockburn and Bendigo – another area in the late 1800’s which was flush with gold and gold rush fever.

Experience true solitude and get close to nature in this inspiring and timeless land. First time visitors are silenced and energised by this tumble of mountain, river, rock and tussock. See the grandeur of breathtaking vistas and be moved by their surging natural power. Central’s clear light brings mountains within an arm’s reach and displays a star-studded night sky. It is a place of extraordinary contrasts, our middle earth.

The vast golden landscape blushes pink in spring with blossoms. The Alexandra Blossom Festival every spring kicks off the excitement and splendour of the summer fruit season. In summer the orchards buzz with joyful life as tons of fresh apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines and the world famous Central Otago cherry are plucked from laden trees.

Central Otago is a place where you relax, indulge and rejuvenate. Cycle the Otago Central Rail Trail, taste wines in amazing locations, try curling in Naseby in the Maniatoto, play a round of golf, cruise the Clutha River, visit historic gold mining towns, ride the Taieri Gorge Middlemarch train, hurtle round Highland Park Motor Sports race track, or just kick back and relax, stroll among the wild thyme and be indulged at one of the many boutique accommodation providers.

Visit the official Central Otago website

Click links below to check out availability and make online bookings for Central Otago accommodation and activities:

Drag the map to show more of the surrounding areas.

Please use two fingers to explore the map

Click on your location below to see how close you are to Wanaka

Driving to Wanaka Explore the Region

Driving to Wānaka

Driving on the South Island roads of New Zealand is a great way to experience the region, with relatively quiet roads and some of the most amazing scenery right outside the window.

Major car and campervan hire companies are all located at Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown airports. There are also a number of rental car companies based in Wānaka.

How to get to Wānaka

Explore the Region

Wānaka is unique and captivating; it inspires you to discover, and gives you the freedom to explore.

Located in the stunning alps of the South Island, New Zealand, visitors from around the world are drawn to the Wānaka region by its outstanding beauty.

Explore Wānaka

  1. Mount Aspiring
    National Park
    54 min
  2. Christchurch 5 h 14 min
  3. Ashburton 3 h 56 min
  4. Geraldine 3 h 19 min
  5. Tekapo 2 h 17 min
  6. Mt Cook 2 h 6 min
  7. Twizel 1 h 39 min
  8. Omarama 1 h 21 min
  9. Franz Josef 3 h 32 min
  10. Fox Glacier 3 h 6 min
  11. Haast 1 h 43 min
  12. Cromwell 39 min
  13. Queenstown 1 h 4 min
  14. Milford Sound 4 h 34 min
  15. Te Anau 2 h 52 min
  16. Dunedin 2 h 52 min
  1. Mount Aspiring
    National Park
    54 min
  2. Coronet Peak
  3. The Remarkables
  4. Cardrona
  5. Treble Cone
  6. Snow Farm
  7. Heli Skiing
  8. Heli Skiing
  9. Makarora 50 min
  10. Lake Hawea 1 h 7 min
  11. Wanaka Airport 11 min
  12. Luggate 13 min
  13. Tarras 27 min
  14. Cromwell 39 min
  15. Arrowtown 53 min
  16. Queenstown 1 h 4 min
  17. Queenstown Airport 59 min
  18. Matukituki Valley 51 min
  19. Raspberry Creek 1 h 6 min

Flights to Wānaka

Getting to Wānaka is easy - click on your city to see how close you are to Wānaka. It’s a short, scenic 60-minute drive to Wānaka from the closest international airport, where you will find all major rental car companies and scheduled bus services that provide transport to Wānaka throughout the day.

How to get to Wanaka