Take the journey south to Central Otago and the southern-most wine region in the world. Spread between two major lakes (Wakatipu and Wanaka) and to large inland basins (Cromwell and Alexandra) there are a large variety of vineyards, sights and towns to explore, it is well worth allowing several days. Queenstown and Wanaka offer the greatest range of places to stay and dine, however there are also excellent options to be found in the smaller, regional towns.
Central Otago's climate and location are unique in the world of wine, lying in rain shadow of the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the valleys of the Central Otago wine region offer a variety of perfect grape growing conditions.
Only 72 km to the west lies Fiordland National Park, with its rugged granite mountains, deep fiords and dense rain forest. Fiordland is one of the wettest regions in the world.
Yet to the east, the valleys of Central Otago are remarkably dry, getting as little as 300mm of rain per annum. Summer days are typically hot and dry followed by cool nights, while autumns are long, cool and sunny.
When combined with its southerly latitude of 45° south you have a perfect climate for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and the aromatics wines - Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer.
Pinot Noir is the true star of Central Otago, and in the region's short history a number of Pinot Noir producers have won major international trophies.
Rieslings are also making a strong claim for a distinctive Central Otago style, clean and crisp, light on the palate, Pinot Gris's are textured and rich, Gerwürztraminers are full bodied and classically Alsatian in style, while Chardonnay's are typically subtlely oaked and well structured.