travel to Central OtagoTravelling 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
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.
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.
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.