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Of course, the roads are already there, but the country’s newest official road trip will be launching on November 26. Over 335km, the Central Otago Touring Route travels through some of New Zealand’s most stunning landscapes, from Ōtepoti/Dunedin to Queenstown following scenic highways from the Pacific Ocean to the foot of the Southern Alps via the beautiful Strath Taieri and Maniototo Plains.
Leaving Scarfie central in Dunedin on SH87, the route winds through the best of Central Otago, starting with the deep south’s Art Deco capital, Ranfurly.
From Ranfurly, continue to soak up the dramatic landscapes as you make your way to Alexandra on SH85. But before you arrive, make a short detour to the small settlement of St Bathans, with its famed, startling Blue Lake and the Vulcan Hotel, which is rumoured to be haunted.
Back on the road, with wildflowers edging the tarmac and merino sheep grazing in nearby paddocks, you’re just 30 minutes from Cromwell, where you can savour some of the best Central Otago has to offer; from the stone fruit at roadside stalls, to the beauty of Lake Dunstan and, of course, the region’s wineries make a stop at a cellar door a must (as long as you’re not the one driving)
If you need to stretch the legs however, stop for a while in Clyde and pick up two wheels instead of four. The Central Otago Cycle Trail is so worth checking out, and with beginners’ trails generally flat, wide and smooth, it’s a great experience for young and old.
When you’re ready to swap pedal power for petrol again, hit SH6, which will see you travelling through Kawarau Gorge and Arrowtown, before arriving in Queenstown, the adventure playground of New Zealand, full of natural – and adrenaline-filled – wonders, and even more dramatic landscapes and experiences.