» Plan » Getting Here

How to get to Central Otago

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 it's 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 walking and cycling trails around.


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.

Bus and Coach Services

Central Otago is readily accessible by bus services from Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Queenstown and the West Coast via Wanaka. Smaller transport operators run transport for cycle trails and door to door services between towns. For an up to date schedule please contact a Central Otago Visitor Centre.

Rental Cars & Campervans

Major rental car companies and campervan 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.

Petrol Stations

Many small towns in Central Otago do not have petrol stations, so fill your vehicle before visiting more remote areas.

Road Conditions

Road conditions are generally excellent with good quality, uncongested roads. In Winter weather is rarely extreme but road conditions can change with frosts, ice and snow  so extra care is advised. Gravel roads exist in rural areas and some maybe closed for periods through the winter.

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.

Travel Times

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.

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

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