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5 Day Queenstown Otago Rail Trail - Guided

Total Cycling Distance 209 kms

Days
5

Pricing From
$1895

Difficulty

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Overview

This trip starts in Queenstown and finishes in Christchurch. The Trail follows the old Central Otago branch railway line from Clyde to Middlemarch, passing through many towns along the way. This trip is not just about the cycling but rather exploring the many small towns and abandoned gold diggings as well as meeting the locals. Along the way you can even try your hand at the ancient art of curling (bowls on ice). The adventure culminates with us enjoying one of the world’s great train trips on the spectacular Taieri Gorge Railway into Dunedin. This adventure is fully supported leaving you with no concerns about accommodation or luggage.

Trip Highlights

  • Explore the stunning Queenstown & Arrow River cycle trails
  • Cycle all 150km of the iconic Otago Central Rail Trail
  • Admire the craftsmanship of hand-built viaducts and tunnels
  • Take a breathtaking journey on the famous Taieri Gorge Railway
  • Enjoy a delicious wine tasting at a Central Otago vineyard
  • Cycle along the Pacific coast on quiet backroads
  • Try your hand at curling in Naseby (optional)

Otago Central Rail Trail

Otago Central Rail Trail

Otago Central Rail Trail

Otago Central Rail Trail

Otago Central Rail Trail

Otago Central Rail Trail

Taieri Gorge Railway

Taieri Gorge Railway

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Queenstown to ClydeCycling Distance: 16km; Optional 15km

Your guide will collect the group and we will have a tour briefing and then a bike fitting. Then it’s time to explore the newly establish Queenstown trails. We will stop for lunch at a winery where you can also choose an optional wine-testing and we then drive through to Cromwell and travel alongside the scenic river gorge before arriving at the railhead at Clyde. The rest of the afternoon will be free to explore this old gold mining town or there are other cycling options that your guide can advise you on. In the evening we have our first group dinner.

Meal: D

Day 2Clyde to Lauder44km Rail Trail Ride

Today we commence the official Otago Central Rail Trail ride, as we leave town across flat rural countryside. From Chatto Creek the trail starts to rise before leveling off to Omakau where we stop for lunch. We then take a drive around the quaint township of Ophir and to the top of the Raggedy Range to get a bird’s eye view of the trail and the surrounding region.

After lunch the remaining 9kms 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.

Meals: B,D

Day 3Lauder to Ranfurly47km Rail Trail Ride

Our cycle ride today takes us through the first two tunnels and two rail bridges on the trip. With the willow tree-edged gorge below the trail and welcoming pools beckoning we finally emerge into the scenic Idaburn valley. Here we stop for a visit to the Hayes Engineering works, where some of New Zealand's first industrial farm equipment was invented. The stop is also perfectly located to fuel up with a hearty lunch at their cafe before our afternoon ride. One last short easy climb takes us to the highest point of the trail and the beginning of the downhill descent that take us to the art deco township of Ranfurly. Y

ou’ll have some free time in the afternoon to relax, stroll around Ranfurly or catch up on some washing. Around 4:30pm we drive out to Naseby, a small foresting township, just off the trail. Here we have the option of trying our skills at curling: bowls on ice. This is a lot of fun and is the only dedicated curling rink in the Southern Hemisphere.

If curling doesn't appeal, a relaxing pint at the iconic Royal Hotel, or a walk around he village or in the forest plantation are alternatives. After the afternoons activities we head back to Ranfurly for dinner and overnight.

Meals: B,D

Day 4Ranfurly to Dunedin59km Rail Trail Ride

It’s out of bed and back onto the bikes for our longest ride today, but it is some of the best riding on 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 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 a local cafe.

However the day is not yet finished and we board the famous Taieri Express for a spectacular train ride through the gorge to Dunedin, the Edinburgh of New Zealand. Our dinner tonight is a group celebration to acknowledge the 150kms of Rail Trail riding.

Meals: B,D

Day 5Dunedin to Christchurch24-40km Coastal Rides

This morning after breakfast we say good bye to any passengers leaving us in Dunedin, and we visit Baldwin Street, reputedly the “steepest street in the world”, for a short but challenging early morning stroll. Then we set off on our drive northwards, stopping enroute to visit the Moeraki Boulders.

Shortly afterwards we unload the bikes and enjoy a final quiet coastal ride, past farms that takes us into Oamaru. We can wander around the old Victorian Precinct where the historic buildings have been restored creating a fascinating opportunity to explore the past and relax at local cafes.

After lunch we continue northwards and across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, where we will drop you off in the central city. The trip concludes on arrival at approx 6:00 pm.

Meal: B

Cost per person

October 2019 - April 2020

  • Twin: NZ$1,895

Other

  • Single Supplement: NZ$495
  • Optional Bike Rental: NZ$170
  • E-Bike Rental: NZ$400
  • Public Holiday Surcharge: NZ$50 
  • New Year's Holiday Surcharge: NZ$100

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Queenstown to ClydeCycling Distance: 16km; Optional 15km

Your guide will collect the group and we will have a tour briefing and then a bike fitting. Then it’s time to explore the newly establish Queenstown trails. We will stop for lunch at a winery where you can also choose an optional wine-testing and we then drive through to Cromwell and travel alongside the scenic river gorge before arriving at the railhead at Clyde. The rest of the afternoon will be free to explore this old gold mining town or there are other cycling options that your guide can advise you on. In the evening we have our first group dinner.

Meal: D

Day 2Clyde to Lauder44km Rail Trail Ride

Today we commence the official Otago Central Rail Trail ride, as we leave town across flat rural countryside. From Chatto Creek the trail starts to rise before leveling off to Omakau where we stop for lunch. We then take a drive around the quaint township of Ophir and to the top of the Raggedy Range to get a bird’s eye view of the trail and the surrounding region.

After lunch the remaining 9kms 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.

Meals: B,D

Day 3Lauder to Ranfurly47km Rail Trail Ride

Our cycle ride today takes us through the first two tunnels and two rail bridges on the trip. With the willow tree-edged gorge below the trail and welcoming pools beckoning we finally emerge into the scenic Idaburn valley. Here we stop for a visit to the Hayes Engineering works, where some of New Zealand's first industrial farm equipment was invented. The stop is also perfectly located to fuel up with a hearty lunch at their cafe before our afternoon ride. One last short easy climb takes us to the highest point of the trail and the beginning of the downhill descent that take us to the art deco township of Ranfurly. Y

ou’ll have some free time in the afternoon to relax, stroll around Ranfurly or catch up on some washing. Around 4:30pm we drive out to Naseby, a small foresting township, just off the trail. Here we have the option of trying our skills at curling: bowls on ice. This is a lot of fun and is the only dedicated curling rink in the Southern Hemisphere.

If curling doesn't appeal, a relaxing pint at the iconic Royal Hotel, or a walk around he village or in the forest plantation are alternatives. After the afternoons activities we head back to Ranfurly for dinner and overnight.

Meals: B,D

Day 4Ranfurly to Dunedin59km Rail Trail Ride

It’s out of bed and back onto the bikes for our longest ride today, but it is some of the best riding on 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 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 a local cafe.

However the day is not yet finished and we board the famous Taieri Express for a spectacular train ride through the gorge to Dunedin, the Edinburgh of New Zealand. Our dinner tonight is a group celebration to acknowledge the 150kms of Rail Trail riding.

Meals: B,D

Day 5Dunedin to Christchurch24-40km Coastal Rides

This morning after breakfast we say good bye to any passengers leaving us in Dunedin, and we visit Baldwin Street, reputedly the “steepest street in the world”, for a short but challenging early morning stroll. Then we set off on our drive northwards, stopping enroute to visit the Moeraki Boulders.

Shortly afterwards we unload the bikes and enjoy a final quiet coastal ride, past farms that takes us into Oamaru. We can wander around the old Victorian Precinct where the historic buildings have been restored creating a fascinating opportunity to explore the past and relax at local cafes.

After lunch we continue northwards and across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, where we will drop you off in the central city. The trip concludes on arrival at approx 6:00 pm.

Meal: B

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