Plan your visit

Making the most of your Central Otago experience.

Central Otago is spectacular to visit during any one of its clearly defined seasons. The region offers a variety of attractions, open year round, which cater to those seeking an adrenaline rush or those who prefer a more leisurely and refined experience. If your trip is focussed on wine, we recommend that you allow 45mins to 1 hour per winery, to have enough time to enjoy the stunning landscapes, learn about the winery and the people behind the wine, taste (and buy) wine and travel between wineries. Below are a few suggested itineraries depending on your time available.

Sample the contrasts and complements of flavours and complexities, in the stunning surroundings of Central Otago wineries.

Sample the contrasts and complements of flavours and complexities, in the stunning surroundings of Central Otago wineries.

Below are a few suggested itineraries based on your time available.

1/2 Day (excluding lunch)

From Queenstown:

Explore the wineries of Gibbston and Queenstown. The Gibbston sub-region is 30 mins by car from central Queenstown. Many wineries in this region are open 7 days and offer restaurants and private wine tours and tastings.
Refer to wineries individual listings for their opening hours and wine experiences.

From Wanaka:

There are a number of Cellar Doors open the majority of the year in the Wanaka region. It is also worth the drive to explore the nearby sub-regions of Bendigo, Tarras and Queensberry.

From Cromwell:

Head up the west side of Lake Dunstan to visit the wineries at Lowburn and Pisa. A number of these Cellar Doors are open by appointment, so be sure to call ahead. Or drive a short distance up the east side of the lake towards
Bendigo and Tarras and visit Northburn with its picturesque views of the Pisa Mountain Range. Just a 10 minute drive south, is the Bannockburn sub-region which delivers spectacular views across the Cromwell basin.

From Alexandra:

On the north side of the river are the winegrowing areas of Alexandra and Clyde or head across the bridge and follow the southern bank of the Clutha River and drive through the picturesque Earnscleugh Valley. Remember to phone ahead and make a reservation with wineries who are open by appointment.

1 Day

There are enough wineries in each sub-region to enjoy a full day wine tasting and a delicious lunch at one of the winery restaurants. Many Cellar Doors also offer other light snacks and platters.

3-5 Days

If you are in the region for longer, on day one visit the wineries in the Alexandra sub-region and take another day to explore Cromwell and Bannockburn. On the third day depart Cromwell and drive up the east side of Lake Dunstan to visit Northburn, Bendigo and Tarras. Take a detour to picturesque Lake Wanaka and return via the western side of Lake Dunstan and the winegrowing areas of Queensberry, Pisa and Lowburn. On your final day, take the time to explore the wineries of Gibbston and Queenstown.

Driving Times

While out on your travels keep an eye out for the wine trails logo on the brown road signs – an easy reference to the vineyards and wineries of the area.


Cromwell – Queenstown

Cromwell – Wanaka

Cromwell – Alexandra

Queenstown - Wanaka via SH89/Crown Range











How to get around?

You can self drive at your leisure or book a guided tour with one of our many experienced local wine tour operators. The New Zealand legal drink driving limits for a driver 20 years and over is a breath alcohol of 250 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol per litre of breath and a blood alcohol limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. If you are under 20 the limit is zero. As an industry we encourage safe consumption and even safer travel – nominate a sober driver and taste but don’t swallow if you are driving.

Where to stay?

You will find a selection of accommodation providers in each of the sub-regions. There are many more, in the first instance visit the local i-SITE who with their local knowledge will be able to advise you of the best place to stay and make a reservation for you. You may also like to use a search engine like Google or a booking site such as Expedia or a travel guide like Trip Advisor.