Central Otago
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 » Must Do » Cycle Central Otago » Accommodation & Activities » Getting Here/ Location

travel to Central Otago

Travelling to the Central Otago region easy - it's readily accessible by main highways from Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Queenstown and the West Coast via Wanaka.

Christchurch is the nearest major international airport in the South Island, with Queenstown and Dunedin also taking international flights direct from Australia. Queenstown and Wanaka airports are approximately 40 minutes from Cromwell and one hour drive from Alexandra. Dunedin Airport is approximately 2 hours 30 minutes drive from Alexandra.

Major rental car companies and camper van providers are represented in Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown. In New Zealand there are some restrictions on use of rental vehicles on gravel roads so be sure to check limitations with your chosen rental company. It is highly recommended to ensure you have adequate travel/medical insurance.

Many small towns in Central Otago do not have petrol stations, so fill your vehicle before visiting more remote areas. Road conditions are excellent with good quality, uncongested roads. Winter weather is rarely extreme but road conditions can change with frosts, so extra care is advised. A few gravel roads exist in rural areas.

Central Otago is not just about the towns, its about the country, so whether by bus, rental car or tour, the true Central Otago experience is by taking the smaller roads and getting off the beaten track. It’s a different pace, so take your time - the roads are not crowded and its easy to stop for a photo or to explore.

Rent a vehicle or a bicycle, catch a bus from one town to another, or book a tour and be guided through the area. The choice is yours for getting around but just be sure to allow time to fit in the wine tasting, great food and all the many walking and cycling trails around.

We’re away from it all but within easy distance of the main southern cities.

Travel times between Central Otago towns and other major population centres are estimated below. These travel times are calculated for driving at 80 to 100 km per hour on open stretches, with an allowance for traffic delays, petrol stops and refreshments.

Click here to view a map of Central Otago.

Distance measured in Kilometres

Alexandra Clyde Cromwell Roxburgh Ranfurly Wanaka Queenstown Invercargill Dunedin Christchurch
Alexandra 7 km 31 km 41 km 88 km 86 km 93 km 202 km 190 km 455 km
Clyde 4 min 24 km 48 km 90 km 79 km 100 km 209 km 197 km 448 km
Cromwell 30 min 25 min 72 km 119 km 55 km 62 km 233 km 221 km 410 km
Roxburgh 30 min 35 min 1 hr 129 km 127 km 134 km 161 km 155 km 496 km
Ranfurly 1 hr 1.10 hr 2 hr 1.30 hr 125 km 181 km 287 km 130 km 394 km
Wanaka 1.15 hr 1.10 hr 45 min 1.30 hr 1 hr 117 km 285 km 355 km 424 km
Queenstown 1.15 hr 1.10 hr 50 min 1.30 hr 2.10 hr 1.40 hr 187 km 283 km 486 km
Invercargill 2.55 hr 3 hr 3.10 hr 2 hr 3.30 hr 4.50 hr 2.40 hr 217 km 579 km
Dunedin 2.45 hr 2.50 hr 3.10 hr 2.15 hr 1.30 hr 3.55 hr 4.30 hr 3.30 hr 362 km
Christchurch 6.30 hr 6.25 hr 5.45 hr 6 hr 4 hr 5.50 hr 6.55 hr 8.15 hr 5.10 hr 

Time shown in approximate hours & minutes

In New Zealand, cars are right-hand drive and travel on the left hand side of the road. The open road speed limit is 100kph, reducing to 50kph in built up areas. Speed, hazard and directional signs are prominent.
Central Otago Transport Operators Suggested Itineraries
Transport Operators
If you need to hire a vehicle, coach, or motorbike, or find a coach service to or from anywhere in Central Otago, there are many options to consider. Scheduled public transport is available to and from Queenstown, Dunedin, Invercargill, Christchurch and the West Coast, check out the options and make your bookings here.
suggested itineraries
Being strategically located between Queenstown, Wanaka, Dunedin and Oamaru, there are many ways and options for exploring Central Otago. From a short day trip to enjoy the wineries of Central Otago, to a 3 to 5 day journey through the region, we have developed some sample itineraries to show you how to make the most of your time.

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