Central Otago is a powerful landscape, sunny, dry and brown with weathered ancient mountains, alpine herb fields and fast flowing rivers. In the 1860s this was a place of gold; you can still pan for it among the miners’ old trails, stone cottages and relics of mine machinery. But the gold today in Central Otago is wine. Pinot Noir, that most fickle of grape varieties, excels in these southernmost vineyards and most of the wineries offer tours and tastings. Located in the spectacular alps of the South Island, visitors from around the world are drawn to this region by its outstanding beauty. The stunning mountain and lakeside setting and proximity to Mt Aspiring National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Area, makes it the ultimate base for outdoor activities.