If you're seeking the thrill of a fine glass of wine or a round of golf then Central Otago could be just your place. The hottest, coldest and driest part of New Zealand is also home to some of its most adorable towns and finer vineyards.
The capital of Central Otago is Alexandra and its boutique hotels are a great base for exploring. The highlights of Central Otago (besides its gourmet delights) include the very well-preserved gold-rush towns of Ophir and St Bathans, the art-deco charms of Ranfurly and the picturesque orchards of the fruit-bowl area surrounding Cromwell.
Eleven golf courses dot the countryside and curling (the ancient Scottish sport) is popular in Naseby where you can play in year-round facilities. Otherwise the majority of action takes place along the Central Otago Rail Trail with walkers, cyclists and horse riders all enjoying the gentle gradient of the former railway line.
Queenstown is 40 minutes drive from Cromwell and an hour’s drive from Alexandra. Dunedin is 2.5 hours drive from Alexandra. A car is the best way to explore the area, moving at your own relaxed pace.