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5 Day Otago Rail Trail Classic - Guided

Total Cycling Distance 196 kms

Days
5

Pricing From
$1795

Difficulty

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Overview

Bike Otago Central Rail Trail, New Zealand. Step back in time to New Zealands rural past and join us on this cycle delight. The route follows the old Maniototo rail line from Clyde in central Otago to Middlemarch. Our Otago Central Rail Trail cycling tour ends with one of the world's great train trips as we travel on the spectacular Taieri Gorge railway into Dunedin.

The Otago Central Rail Trail trip is not just about the cycling but rather exploring the many small towns and abandoned gold diggings and meeting local inhabitants on the Otago Rail Trail. Along the way we will even try our hand at the ancient art of curling (bowls on ice).

Trip Highlights

  • Cycle the dedicated cycle trails of NZ's original great ride
  • Take in the dramatic landscapes, valleys and gorges
  • Admire the hand-built viaducts and tunnels along the trail
  • Take a journey on the famous Taieri Gorge Railway
  • Explore the old gold mining township of Clyde
  • Experience the local 'southern hospitality' of Central Otago
  • Try your hand at 'curling' in Naseby (optional)

"Top notch organization with terrific people. The scenery on the rail trail was magnificent and the bikes were great quality." Patty McCrary, USA.

Tour Grading:  Moderate      

This trip is ideal for Recreational Cyclists. All tours can be adapted by the guides for stronger cyclists wanting to cover more ground.

Bridge between Lauder and Ophir

Bridge between Lauder and Ophir on the Otago Central Rail Trail

Oturehua General Store and Coffee Shop

Oturehua General Store and Coffee Shop

Oturehua Otago Central Rail Trail

Cyclists cross old bridge near Oturehua

Cyclists near Oturehua

Cyclists near Oturehua

Cyclists near Oturehua

Cyclists near Oturehua

Cyclists near Oturehua

Cyclists near Oturehua

Group of Cyclists at Galloway

Group of Cyclists at Galloway

Indoor curling rink at Naseby

Indoor curling rink at Naseby

Blue Lake near St Bathans

Reflections in Blue Lake near St Bathans in autumn

Otago Central Rail Trail

Peak hour in the South Island of New Zealand

Otago Central Rail Trail

Cycling near a hydro canal near Tekapo in South Canterbury, New Zealand

Otago Central Rail Trail

Bike tour guide instructing cyclists near Tekapo in South Canterbury, New...

Taieri Gorge Railway

Taieri Gorge Railway

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Christchurch to Clyde22km road cycling

We will come and pick you up from your pre tour accommodation in Christchurch and bring you back to Addington at 7.00am. A quick check of your bike - or a fitting of one of our fleet of rental bikes will precede the loading of the bike trailer that will see us departing by 8.00am.

After a quick lunch stop in Tekapo we start our cycle program with a quiet ride alongside a canal system with spectacular views of Mt Cook & the Southern Alps. Crossing over the Lindis Pass we descend down to Cromwell and travel alongside the scenic river gorge before we arrive at our historic accommodation in Clyde.  

In the late afternoon there are other cycling options available, including an easy loop trail combining the first part of the Cromwell riverside trail with an old road from the days of the hydro dam construction. (Stronger riders have the option of an unguided cycle along the whole of the riverside trail.)  You should try and allow some time in Clyde to explore this old goldmining town before enjoying our first dinner together. (Dinner)

Day 2Clyde to Lauder44km Rail Trail Ride

The real riding starts today as we leave town across the flat rural countryside. From Chatto Creek the trail starts to rise before leveling off to Omakau where we stop for lunch.  Stronger riders may enjoy an optional detour from Omakau to the historic village of Ophir (8kms return).  

After lunch the remaining 9km flow under the wheels until we arrive at Lauder. Late afternoon we will take a drive to the historic gold mining village, St. Bathans for a walk around the beautiful Blue Lake. This evening it is time for a relaxing beer and a game of pool at the local pub before dinner. (Breakfast and Dinner)

Day 3Lauder to Ranfurly 47km Rail Trail Ride

On this day we head inland and ride through the first two tunnels and two rail bridges on the trip. With the willow tree edged gorge below the trail and the welcoming pools beckoning we finally emerge into the scenic Idaburn valley.  One last short easy climb takes us to the summit of the trail and the beginning of the downhill descent that will take us first to the art deco township of Ranfurly.  

We lunch at a local cafe and then the rest of the afternnon is free to explor Ranfurly.

Around 4:30pm we drive out to Naseby – a small foresting township, just off the trail. Here you have the option of joining us in playing curling; if you can imagine bowls on ice then you are on the right track – it’s a lot of fun and is at the only dedicated curling rink in the Southern Hemisphere. If curling isn’t your thing then you can still come out to Naseby with us and enjoy a relaxing pint at the iconic Royal Hotel, walk
around town or in the forest plantation. After the afternoons activities we head back to Ranfurly for dinner and our nights accommodation. (Breakfast and Dinner)

Day 4Ranfurly to Dunedin59km Rail Trail Ride

An early start for our longest ride today but it is some of the best riding of the trip. From Waipiata the trail follows the edge of the old lake before entering the Taieri Gorge. The trail crosses through further tunnels and bridges before a fast downhill to the lovely cafe at the old hotel at Hyde. From here a final 27kms takes us past the scene of the famous Hyde rail disaster of 1943 and then out onto the rolling plains slowly descending into Middlemarch.  This is the end of the trail and time for a celebratory drink at the Kissing Gate Cafe.  

However the day is not yet finished and by 4.30pm we join the famous Taieri Express for a spectacular ride through the gorge described as one of the worlds great train journeys. We travel into Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South, our dinner tonight is in the form of a group celebration to acknowledge the 150kms of Rail Trail riding. (Breakfast and Dinner)

Day 5Dunedin to Christchurch24-40km Coastal Rides

The riding is still not finished as we head north to Oamaru, leaving behind those who wish to finish in Dunedin. Via the beautiful coastal roads we get to visit the famous Fluers Cafe at picturesque Moeraki Village & the Moeraki Boulders before turning onto the final quiet 24km coastal ride along the cliff tops and farms that take us into Oamaru.

Here in the old warehouse quarter the early buildings are being restored creating a fascinating opportunity to explore the past as you relax at a local cafe. Back on the road again we continue across the Canterbury Plains and finally reach Christchurch where we will deliver you to your chosen accommodation at the trip end. (Breakfast)

Cost per person

October 2019 - April 2021

  • Twin: NZ$1,795

Public Holiday Supplement: NZ$50
Single Supplement: NZ$495
Bike Rental: NZ$170
E-Bike Rental: NZ$400

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Christchurch to Clyde22km road cycling

We will come and pick you up from your pre tour accommodation in Christchurch and bring you back to Addington at 7.00am. A quick check of your bike - or a fitting of one of our fleet of rental bikes will precede the loading of the bike trailer that will see us departing by 8.00am.

After a quick lunch stop in Tekapo we start our cycle program with a quiet ride alongside a canal system with spectacular views of Mt Cook & the Southern Alps. Crossing over the Lindis Pass we descend down to Cromwell and travel alongside the scenic river gorge before we arrive at our historic accommodation in Clyde.  

In the late afternoon there are other cycling options available, including an easy loop trail combining the first part of the Cromwell riverside trail with an old road from the days of the hydro dam construction. (Stronger riders have the option of an unguided cycle along the whole of the riverside trail.)  You should try and allow some time in Clyde to explore this old goldmining town before enjoying our first dinner together. (Dinner)

Day 2Clyde to Lauder44km Rail Trail Ride

The real riding starts today as we leave town across the flat rural countryside. From Chatto Creek the trail starts to rise before leveling off to Omakau where we stop for lunch.  Stronger riders may enjoy an optional detour from Omakau to the historic village of Ophir (8kms return).  

After lunch the remaining 9km flow under the wheels until we arrive at Lauder. Late afternoon we will take a drive to the historic gold mining village, St. Bathans for a walk around the beautiful Blue Lake. This evening it is time for a relaxing beer and a game of pool at the local pub before dinner. (Breakfast and Dinner)

Day 3Lauder to Ranfurly 47km Rail Trail Ride

On this day we head inland and ride through the first two tunnels and two rail bridges on the trip. With the willow tree edged gorge below the trail and the welcoming pools beckoning we finally emerge into the scenic Idaburn valley.  One last short easy climb takes us to the summit of the trail and the beginning of the downhill descent that will take us first to the art deco township of Ranfurly.  

We lunch at a local cafe and then the rest of the afternnon is free to explor Ranfurly.

Around 4:30pm we drive out to Naseby – a small foresting township, just off the trail. Here you have the option of joining us in playing curling; if you can imagine bowls on ice then you are on the right track – it’s a lot of fun and is at the only dedicated curling rink in the Southern Hemisphere. If curling isn’t your thing then you can still come out to Naseby with us and enjoy a relaxing pint at the iconic Royal Hotel, walk
around town or in the forest plantation. After the afternoons activities we head back to Ranfurly for dinner and our nights accommodation. (Breakfast and Dinner)

Day 4Ranfurly to Dunedin59km Rail Trail Ride

An early start for our longest ride today but it is some of the best riding of the trip. From Waipiata the trail follows the edge of the old lake before entering the Taieri Gorge. The trail crosses through further tunnels and bridges before a fast downhill to the lovely cafe at the old hotel at Hyde. From here a final 27kms takes us past the scene of the famous Hyde rail disaster of 1943 and then out onto the rolling plains slowly descending into Middlemarch.  This is the end of the trail and time for a celebratory drink at the Kissing Gate Cafe.  

However the day is not yet finished and by 4.30pm we join the famous Taieri Express for a spectacular ride through the gorge described as one of the worlds great train journeys. We travel into Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South, our dinner tonight is in the form of a group celebration to acknowledge the 150kms of Rail Trail riding. (Breakfast and Dinner)

Day 5Dunedin to Christchurch24-40km Coastal Rides

The riding is still not finished as we head north to Oamaru, leaving behind those who wish to finish in Dunedin. Via the beautiful coastal roads we get to visit the famous Fluers Cafe at picturesque Moeraki Village & the Moeraki Boulders before turning onto the final quiet 24km coastal ride along the cliff tops and farms that take us into Oamaru.

Here in the old warehouse quarter the early buildings are being restored creating a fascinating opportunity to explore the past as you relax at a local cafe. Back on the road again we continue across the Canterbury Plains and finally reach Christchurch where we will deliver you to your chosen accommodation at the trip end. (Breakfast)

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