【Day 3】Cromwell, Central Otago
We had a good night rest at Vines On Bannockburn Airbnb, it was a quiet and peaceful Airbnb located right in the vineyard, despite the occasional bird scarer during the day.
- Wine Tasting 7: Felton Road (Make appointment 1-2 days prior visit)
- Wine Tasting 8: Mt Difficulty (Lunch with a view)
- See: Cromwell Fruit Sculpture (Icon of Cromwell / Central Otago)
- See: The junction lookout (Where the old city was flooded under Lake Dunstan)
- See: Cromwell Heritage Precinct (The rebuilt old town on the shore of Lake Dunstan)
1. Wine Tasting: Felton Road
Felton Road is a must-visit if you are a wine connoisseur or more than serious wine lover. The visit was by appointment only but they are very friendly and welcome visitors.
I’m so glad that we booked the appointment to visit. We arrived at 10.30am in the morning joining the rest of the visitors. Although it wasn’t a paid tour (nobody mentioned about the fee, but we bought a few bottles because we loved the wine), the staff in Felton Road was very professional and friendly in guiding us through Felton Road’s history, the way they make wine biodynamically, visiting the working winery and cellar, and finally a guided wine tasting.
Produced in small quantity, Felton Road wines are also organically and biodynamically certified. Although they are known for their Burgundian style Pinot Noir, I thought their Chardonnay is really good too.
Wines to note:
- 2016 Felton Road Bannockburn Chardonnay $39 – Aromas of citrus blossom, crushed stones and white peach and elderflower. Delicate with salty minerality. Light bodied with very little oak influence.
- 2016 Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir – dark fruits and dried herbs, medium bodied with delicate red fruits. A good one!
What I like about Felton Road is that they are super humble despite their famously made good wines ( And the price of the wines are not that expensive (the most expensive bottle is around $65) compared to other the premium Central Otago wines.
- Tasting & winery visit is by prior appointment only. (Tel: +64 3 445 0885, E-Mail: Wines@FeltonRoad.com)
2. Wine Tasting: Mount Difficulty
After our tour and tasting at Felton Road vineyard, we drove 2 minutes to the next door vineyard – Mount Difficulty.
Mount Difficulty produces some very stylish wines and the taste is typical Central Otago, always fresh, lots of fruits, and more friendly style of wines. The more commonly seen Mount Difficulty wines in New Zealand wine shops or supermarket are Roaring Meg Pinot Noir $30 and Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Noir $47. During the wine tasting, we get to discover their other range like single vineyard Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling which we don’t normally see on the supermarket shelves.
The cellar door and restaurant sit high above the winery on Felton Road, with the views of Bannockburn’s dramatic rugged rock and thyme landscape.
We arrived just before lunchtime and managed to get a table. Again, it’s a popular place for lunch so if you can make a reservation early that would be great. Otherwise, you might want to try your luck by being there early and hopefully they can fit you in.
- Tasting fee $2 for 5 wines (free tasting if you dine at the restaurant)
- Open daily 10.30am-4.30pm
3. See: Cromwell Giant Fruit Sculpture
It was just 4 big pieces of stone fruit sculpture (apple, pear, nectarine and apricot) sitting in Cromwell town. Built in 1990, the sculpture was to acknowledge the importance of fruit-growing to Central Otago economy.
Today, it has become a landmark and photo point for tour buses and visitors. Just take a quick photo or just skip this all together.
4. See: The Junction Lookout
Just to understand the history of Cromwell a little bit. Apparently, before this lake was created in the 1990s, it was the junction of 2 rivers, and the old town was under this lake.
The new “old town” was rebuilt on the shores of Lake Dunstan and became Cromwell Heritage Precinct, where we will visit after this lookout.
5. See: Cromwell Heritage Precinct
This town looks old but it is actually a rebuilt. Situated on the shores of Lake Dunstan, this place is a mix of original and reconstructed buildings from the old main street of the 1860’s gold town of Cromwell.
- Free entrance
- Open daily: 9am-5pm (Businesses open from 9am-4pm)
Read my other Central Otago Wine Trip:
- Day 1 of 5 – Day trip from Queenstown, tasting Amisfield, Chard Farm, Gibbston Valley
- Day 2 of 5 – Wine tasting at Peregrine, Valli, Misha. See Roaring Meg Lookout
- Day 4 of 5 – Wine tasting at Domaine Thomson, Aurum. Hike up to the 45th parallel
- Day 5 of 5 – Wine tasting at Rippon Winery, See Cardrona Bra Fence