Things to do and places to visit in the Otago and Queenstown region
Otago is a powerful landscape, sunny, dry and brown with weathered ancient mountains, alpine herb fields and fast flowing rivers. In the 1860s this was a place of gold; you can still pan for it amongst the miners' old trails, stone cottages and relics of mine machinery. But the gold today in Central Otago is wine. Pinot Noir, that most fickle of grape varieties, excels in these southernmost vineyards and most of the wineries offer tours and tastings. Many Central Otago visitors hire a motorhome or mountain bike to explore the region at their own pace. This way you can see some of the region’s more remote sites, taste the seasonal flavours and absorb the incredible scenery that you will often have all to yourself. The area is known for its cycle trails. The150 km Central Otago Rail Trail follows the route of the old railway; cycle from station to station staying in places little touched by modern hustle and bustle. The Roxburgh Gorge Trail and Clutha Gold Trail also offer unique experiences deep in the heart of Central Otago. If you're not up for cycling, you might like to go wildflower walking in Alexandra, wander through the Cromwell Historic Precinct, take a cruise on Lakes Dunstan and Roxburgh or go curling in Naseby.
Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s top visitor destinations and if you come to the region you’ll understand why. Captivated by the majestic beauty of the surrounding mountains and rivers, it’s rumoured that gold prospectors gave this now cosmopolitan town its name. Queenstown sits on the shore of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu among dramatic alpine ranges. World famous for its iconic scenery, friendly people, golf courses, wineries and smorgasbord of outdoor activities, you'll never be short of things to do in Queenstown. And of course, it's the home of the ultimate adventure bucket list. There’s skiing in the winter and activities such as bungy jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, jet boating, horse trekking and river rafting all year round. Queenstown has also become a renowned cycling destination, providing everything from easy scenic tracks to backcountry trails, road rides to heli-biking and the Southern Hemisphere’s only gondola accessed downhill mountain biking. If hardcore adventure isn't your thing, there are plenty of mellow options available. Experience one of the many walking and hiking trails, sightseeing tours or indulge yourself with spa treatments, boutique shopping and excellent food and wine.