The wide expanse between Dunedin and Queenstown / Southern Lakes is known as Central Otago.
This region is renowned for its autumn colours, excellent wineries, stonefruit orchards and its popular Otago Central Rail Trail.
Alexandra (pop 6,000) is the main town. It has its own micro-climate and regularly boasts NZ’s highest daily temperature in summer and lowest in winter.
The orchard and vineyard town of Cromwell (pop 6,400), on man-made Lake Dunstan, has become a bit of a commuter town for Queenstown and Wanaka, both only around 45 minutes away by car.
For a driving adventure, consider driving over the Danseys Pass Road that links Naseby in Central Otago with Oamaru and North Otago.