Day 1 Central Otago Itinerary
Morning (drive from Queenstown)
- See: Arrow Town ( A historic gold mine town)
- Wine Tasting 1: Amisfield Winery and Bistro (great place for lunch & tasting)
- Wine Tasting 2: Chard Farm (single vineyard Pinot Noirs)
- Wine Tasting 3: Gibbston Valley (NZ’s largest wine cave with tour)
- See: Kawarau Bungee Jump (see people jumping down from this historic suspension bridge) – try not to jump after wine tasting though 🤮
- Back to Queenstown
1. See: Arrow Town
Just 22 minutes drive from Queenstown, Arrow Town is a must visit while you are in Queenstown.
Arrow town was established in 1862 during the height of the Otago gold rush. Today it has become a historic town with many stories to tell.
There is also a small museum in Arrow town called The Lakes District Museum, it is regarded as one of New Zealand’s best small museums.
This place is especially beautiful in April and May when the autumn leaves and mountains change its colour to gold and orange.
7 minutes drive from Arrow town, Amisfield is known for their wines and restaurant. They produce Pinot Noir and Riesling, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. No Chardonnay.
What did I like?
- 2016 Amisfield Dry Riesling ($30) – dry, green apple and citrus, fresh and mineral
2013 Amisfield Pinot Noir ($70) – delicate nose of wild strawberries, almost Burgundian-like, silky tannins with lively acid.
- Open daily – Cellar door 10am-6pm; bistro 11.30am-8pm
- Tasting fee: NZ$10 for 5 wines of your choice, refundable upon purchase
3 course ‘Trust the Chef’ Lunch – $75
3. Wine Tasting: Chard Farm Winery
Chard Farm is 14 minutes drive from Amisfield winery. The driveway into this winery is scenic and dangerous at the same time. We need to drive through a narrow, clifftop road before seeing the winery at the end of the road.
Among one of the pioneers in Central Otago, first vines were planted here in 1987. Chard Farm is specializing in premium Central Otago Pinot Noir, personally, I find their unoaked Chardonnay very good as well.
What did I like?
- Closeburn Chardonnay 2017 ($31) – unoaked, bright and mineral, citrus and tropical fruit, good acidity.
- Mata-Au Pinot Noir 2016 ($45) – dense and silky, lots of succulent red fruit, typical of Central Otago style.
- Cellar door open daily 10am-5pm (Mon-Fri), 11am-5pm (Sat-Sun)
- Tasting donation fee: $10 (waived upon purchase)
7 minutes drive from Chard Farm.
Gibbston Valley is regarded as Central Otago’s first commercial winery. Planted its first vines in 1983 and released Central Otago’s first commercial vintage in 1987.
Things to do there:
Plenty of activities! If you have time to visit ONLY ONE winery from Queenstown, Gibbston Valley it is. You can join cave and winery tours (from $17.50 per person), winery restaurant (2-course lunch $65), wine tasting, bike hire, cheese shop and many more. All tours and restaurant are very popular, so make sure you make a reservation before visiting this winery. Information about the cave and winery tour can be found here.
- Open daily 10am-5pm
- An extensive list of wines from sthe ingle vineyard, organic to everyday wine. You will surely find a wine that you like.
5. See: Kawarau Bridge Bungee Jump
If you still have some time after all the wineries, stopped by Kawarau Bridge Bungee Centre before heading back to Queenstown. This is the ‘World Home of Bungy’ – where it all began! If bungee jumping is not your thing, you can still watch others doing it from the observation deck.
A Day Trip From Queenstown
(For casual wine drinker) If you just want to taste some good wines in New Zealand while you’re in Queenstown, this is probably a good day trip itinerary.
Read more: Top 10 Things To Do In Queenstown
(For serious wine geek) If you are crazy about wines like us, then please keep reading to my another 4 days trip while we exploring the rest of the Central Otago wine subregions.
- Day 2 of 5 – Wine tasting at Peregrine, Valli, Misha. See Roaring Meg Lookout
- Day 3 of 5 – Wine tasting at Felton Rd, Mt Difficulty. See Cromwell town
- 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