Check-in desk: Top food and drink spots in Central Otago

The historic Cardrona Hotel. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The historic Cardrona Hotel. Photo / Mark Mitchell

1 Gibbston Valley Winery, Gibbston

It is one of New Zealand's best wine-producing areas - the soils in this fertile spot have produced more top pinot's than you can shake a stick at. There are plenty of great wineries to stop at in this area but Gibbston Valley is a must see. Not only are the vinos hard to beat, the winery also boasts an intriguing wine cave and a gourmet cheesery. gibbstonvalley.com

2 Mt Difficulty Wines, Bannockburn

Stop by the cellar door for a taste of the delicious Mt Difficulty and Roaring Meg wine range, before grabbing a bite at the winery restaurant. On a sunny day, make sure you nab a spot on the terrace, where you can take in the stunning views of the vineyard and the rugged schist rock hills that are common in the region.
mtdifficulty.co.nz

3 Olivers Restaurant, Clyde

Nestled in the town's picturesque historic area, Olivers Restaurant is also home to a custom-built brewery. The restaurant serves hearty plates of high-end local fare and is in an iconic heritage building that served as the general store for early gold prospectors.
oliverscentralotago.co.nz

4 Pitches Store, Ophir

Built in 1883, Pitches is steeped in Central Otago history. The schist building has been carefully restored and now offers boutique accommodation as well as a charming restaurant. By day the eatery serves fancy salads, pasta and scallops, at night it's relaxed fine dining, with hearty meats and decadent desserts on the menu. pitches-store.co.nz

5 Chatto Creek Tavern, Chatto Creek

Boasting some of the best blue cod and whitebait dishes of the region, the historic schist pub also serves a range of local wines. It is a popular pitstop for travellers cycling the Central Otago Rail Trail and the walls are festooned with interesting pieces of local history. The building also houses New Zealand's smallest operating post office. chattocreektavern.co.nz

6 Courthouse Cafe, Alexandra

Withawell-stocked cabinet of sweets and savouries, generous servings and a ready supply of Atomic coffee, the Courthouse Cafe is a local favourite. A great spot for families, it has lots of room to relax outdoors over summer and, in the cooler months, enjoy the cosy, vintage-inspired decor inside. The building was the town's original courthouse, built in 1876.
packingshedcompany.com

7 Cardrona Hotel

They first started serving food and grog here in 1863 - it's a lot smarter today. Recent renovations have createdawonderful outdoor space for a beer in the sun, with outdoor fireplaces to take the edge off the cold. cardronahotel.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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