Central Otago Wine Trip (Day 4/5) Domaine Thomson

entral Otago day 4 Domaine Thomson, Wanaka,

【Day 4】 Biodynamic Vineyard Of Domaine Thomson, Hike Up To 45th Parallel, Then Drive To Wanaka


  • Wine Tasting 9: Domaine Thomson (A biodynamic Pinot Noir producer that also makes wine in Gevrey Chambertin in Burgundy, France)
  • Wine Tasting 10: Aurum Wines (Family owned, certified organic vineyard)


  • Hike –  45th Parallel South (a short hike to the top, to burn off all the calories you drink in the past few days)
  • Drive – to Wanaka and stay a night


  • See: That “Wanaka tree” (The most photographed tree in New Zealand)
Day 4 - Central Otago Wine Trip itinerary drive to WAnaka
Driving route from Cromwell to Wanaka


1. Wine Tasting – Domaine Thomson

What is it so special about Domaine Thomson?

  • One of our top 3 ♥️ favourite Pinot Noir producer in New Zealand
  • Produces only one grape variety –  single vineyard Pinot Noir (Pommard and Dijon clones) at the Lowburn subregion of Central Otago
  • Premium hand-crafted organic and bio-dynamic wines under the Surveyor Thomson and Explorer labels.
  • A family-owned producer, with vineyards and homes in Central Otago, New Zealand and Gevrey-Chambertin, France.
  • “Hands Off” winemaking approach to ensure the wines reflects the unique terroir.
domaine thomson biodynamic vineyard harvest 2018
2018 Harvest in Domaine Thomson

We were very grateful to have Kate and Su to show us around the vineyard although they were in the midst of busy harvest season. We got to see how much biodiversity and vibrant the energy was in that biodynamic vineyard. The grass was luscious, wildflowers were everywhere, birds, bees and insects seem happily roaming around the vineyard. Happy vine = happy wine!

Biodynamic farming is getting popular these days. It’s a holistic farming method similar to organic farming, but also following the concepts from philosopher and scientist Dr. Rudolf Steiner.

Pesticides or any chemical fertilizers are prohibited. Instead, herbs, mineral substances and animal manures are turned into field sprays and compost. An astrological sowing and planting calendar was used. It sounded mythical, but the idea is to make the vineyard healthier and as a result produces stronger and healthier grapes, hence better wines.

Domaine Thomson biodynamic guru su winemaking
Su – the biodynamic ‘guru’ with years of biodynamic farming and winegrowing experience.
domaine thomson biodynamic vineyard practice
Cow manure, packing into a cow horn and burying it underground over winter. It is then mixed with water and applied to the soil – this is believed to stimulate root growth
Central Otago Domaine Thomson wine tasting visit
The healthy vineyard of Domaine Thomson in Central Otago

Note: there is no cellar door in Domaine Thomson at the moment, you can either make an appointment prior visit if you seriously like to know more about their wines, or you could also taste and buy their wines at Kinross Estate (2300 Gibbston Highway SH6, Queenstown) where we tasted Valli wines.

Watch video: Our visit at Domaine Thomson Wine (Biodynamic vineyard)

2. Wine Tasting: Aurum Wines

Aurum, means “gold” in latin words.  It is a family owned boutique winery. Lucie is a third generation winemaker and trained as an oenologist at Dijon University, working vintages in Burgundy and Alsace.

  • 9 minutes drive away from Cromwell city centre
  • Open daily 10am-5pm
  • Certified Organic
  • Private Winemaker Tour ($120 per person) – 60 to 90 min

Produces an interesting range of wines: Single vineyard Pinot Noir, sparkling Blanc de Blanc, amber wine.

Aurum Wine New Zealand Central Otago Wine Trip

3. Hike: 45th Parallel Track

This is the halfway point between the equator and the South Pole.

45th parellel South New Zealand

We parked the car beside the highway and took a quick hike up to the top. If I remember correctly it only took us 30 minutes to hike up. The view on top was worth that little exercise.

45th parellel new zealand hike what to do in central otago
Beautiful big stones all over the hill
45th parellel new zealand short hiking spot
45th Parellel South – Halfway point between equator and south pole

4. Stay: Airbnb In Wanaka

It took us another 40 minutes drive north to our next destination – Wanaka. Our accommodation in Wanaka was a campervan at somebody’s backyard which cost us only SGD$122.73 per night.

Wanaka Airbnb Campervan Star gazing
Our Airbnb at Wanaka – a stargazing campervan at somebody’s backyard
Wanaka AirBnb Campervan Stargazing
Cosy and clean campervan for 2 nights.

5. See: That Wanaka Tree

We had a relaxing evening walk by the Wanaka lake and took a mandatory picture of “that Wanaka Tree”. You just can’t go to Wanaka and not take a photo of that tree, same as you don’t go to Paris and don’t see Eiffel Tower. This tree is possibly the most photographed tree in New Zealand. It even has its own hashtag on social media #thatwanakatree.

What is so special about this tree, you ask. It is just an old willow tree grown near the lake but got so famous ever since a Christchurch photographer took a tree photo on a misty June day and won the 2014 New Zealand Geographic photograph of the year. Ever since photographers and tourists from around the world travel there just to take photos of the tree.

that wanaka tree at wanaka
That Wanaka Tree – the most photographed tree in New Zealand
that wanaka tree and its fan
That Wanaka Tree and its fans 😅

It was quite hilarious to see people with tripods, selfie sticks and cameras just lining up to photograph this tree. The lake was beautiful with all the mountain ranges as backdrops. We had a good time walking around the lake and mesmerized by the power of social media influence to this tree!

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Central Otago Wine Trip (Day 4/5) Domaine Thomson
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