Police are investigating after a milk tanker ran off the road in North Otago, killing the driver.

The incident happened on Glenavy-Hilderthorpe Rd (State Highway 1) at the entrance to Riverstone Kitchen restaurant, about 20km north Oamaru, about 4.20am today.

Police said the double tanker drove off the road and into a ditch, killing the driver.

The tanker ploughed into trees before coming to rest. No other vehicles were involved.

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An eyewitness said the milk tanker's cab had been extensively damaged.

The Serious Crash Unit was investigating the crash and police said they could not make any further comment.

The restaurant is open today. Patrons were asked to use the southern entrance as the northern entrance was closed.