new zealand: 0800 377 378
australia: 1800 044 633
 world: +64 3 962 3280
Select Currency:
  • Overview
  • Itinerary & Map
  • What's Included
  • Photos
  • And more...
Overview
For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

Otago Rail Trail

Start:ChristchurchTours run:November - April (Mondays-monthly, or on demand)
End:Christchurch
  • J
  • F
  • M
  • A
  • M
  • J
  • J
  • A
  • S
  • O
  • N
  • D
easy grade
Duration:5 days/4 nights
US$1,120.49
excl GST
Cycling

New Zealand Cycling Tours

Otago Rail Trail Cyclists Said....


"We will be back to do more. We enjoyed it so much and met some wonderful people along the way"
Dianna and Michael, NSW, November 2014
 

“Well organised and we enjoyed the knowledge that we were well supported all along the trail”
Julie and Richard, NSW , March 2014
 

“FUN,FUN,FUN just loved the whole trip”
Grahame and Pauline, Nelson, March 2014
 

“All very glad to have done it , a real sense of achievement”
Jan and Paul, Dianne and Ross, Auckland April 2013






qualmark activity2

 

Journey Into The Past!



The Otago Central Rail Trail is ideal for cyclists who wish to see some spectacular Central Otago scenery, at an easy pace, on flat (gravelled) terrain.

Trains typically travel through hills, around hills but (if it can be avoided) not uphill (the maximum gradient is 2%).

The idea of the Rail Trail was promoted by the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC), and The Otago Rail Trail Trust, formed specifically to help create this family-oriented recreational facility.

The Trail is a public reserve, and motorised vehicles are not permitted. Therefore walkers and cyclists have no traffic concerns as they traverse the level surface.

.
Itinerary button
.


Official Partner


CTlogoThe Otago Central Rail Trail runs for 150kms between Clyde and Middlemarch (close to Dunedin), passing through the towns of Clyde, Alexandra, Chatto Creek, Omakau, Lauder, Oturehua, Wedderburn, Ranfurly, Waipiata and Hyde.

Tuatara Tours is an official partner.


 

 


Otago Rail Trail Highlights Video

 
  • Soaring landscapes
  • Remote location
  • History
  • Tranquility
  • Food to die for

 


Dates For Next Summer

2017
  • January: 9, 23
  • February: 19
  • March: 20
  • April: 18 (full) 22
Please enquire for other dates for your group
btn enquire

 
Otago


Dates and Availability?

Tours run:November - April (Mondays-monthly, or on demand)
  • J
  • F
  • M
  • A
  • M
  • J
  • J
  • A
  • S
  • O
  • N
  • D

Customisations?

We can customise tours to suit.

Nicky

nickylge

Hamish

hamish1
Enquire

Itinerary & Map

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

New Zealand Cycling Tours

Otago Rail Trail Cyclists Said....


"We will be back to do more. We enjoyed it so much and met some wonderful people along the way"
Dianna and Michael, NSW, November 2014
 

“Well organised and we enjoyed the knowledge that we were well supported all along the trail”
Julie and Richard, NSW , March 2014
 

“FUN,FUN,FUN just loved the whole trip”
Grahame and Pauline, Nelson, March 2014
 

“All very glad to have done it , a real sense of achievement”
Jan and Paul, Dianne and Ross, Auckland April 2013






The Otago Central Rail Trail

 
 Journey Into The Past!
 
The Otago Central Rail Trail runs for 150kms between Clyde and Middlemarch (close to Dunedin), passing through the towns of Clyde, Alexandra, Chatto Creek, Omakau, Lauder, Oturehua, Wedderburn, Ranfurly, Waipiata and Hyde. It is regarded as one of the best Pacific cycle tours available.

The heritage of the old railway line has been preserved, with the retention of viaducts and bridges, and some of the old Railway Stations.
Otago Rail Trail Tour






largemap


Day 1: Christchurch to Clyde


We depart from Christchurch at 8:30am for the drive south, via the inland route through to Lake Tekapo………. where we cycle along the emerald blue canals to Lake Pukaki (with a brief visit to the Mt Cook Salmon Farm).

We bike alongside the canal to Lake Pukaki, where we stop for lunch and then have a relaxing ride to the bottom end of the Lake - where we can pause and take in the magnificent views of Mt Cook. We then board the bus to drive through the Mackenzie Country, cross the Lindis Pass, then descend down past Cromwell and travel alongside the scenic river gorge to Clyde.

This is a fantastic day, as you enjoy the huge scenery that makes the area so famous. It is majestic country that the artist Grahame Sydney loves to paint.

We eat out at a restaurant in Clyde, and stay in the beautifully restored historic Dunstan House that night.
 


Day 2: Clyde to Lauder - 44km


The actual Rail Trail ride starts today. We leave Clyde, crossing the flat rural countryside until Chatto Creek….. where we stop for lunch. The trail then starts to rise before levelling off at Omakau, where we briefly leave the trail and take a short ride around the quaint township of Ophir.

In the afternoon we make a side trip in the bus to the historic gold-mining town of St Bathan's, and walk around the beautiful Blue Lake…… with a mandatory stop at the Vulcan Hotel!

The highlights of today are the wooden trestle Muttontown Viaduct; the Old Tucker Hill gold diggings; views of the Dunstan Mountains and Raggedy Range; and (hopefully) sighting brown trout in the Manuherikia River.

At the end of the day we drive back to Lauder, for a relaxing drink at the pub before dinner.

Our accommodation tonight is at the charming (converted) historic Lauder Store.
 


Day 3: Lauder to Ranfurly - 35km


On the third day we cycle through two tunnels and over two rail bridges. Below us at the time are a willow tree edged gorge and welcoming river pools. We finally emerge into the scenic Idaburn valley, and then have a last easy climb up to the summit of the trail. We then enjoy the descent down to the art deco township of Ranfurly

The highlights of today include the engineering marvel of the Poolburn Gorge Viaduct and tunnels; the vast wide open Ida Valley (made famous by the artist Grahame Sydney); the Idaburn dam (known for its winter curling); and a trip to Hayes Engineering Works (Hayes invented the wire strainer, pulley block and cattle stop at the beginning of the 20th century); and visiting the town of Wedderburn.

We also drive to Naseby, which is a small forestry township, and play a game of curling (if you can imagine bowls on ice then you are on the right track….they have the only dedicated curling rink in the Southern Hemisphere). We continue on to the famous Kyeburn gold diggings and the historic Dansy’s Pass Inn……… where we dine and stay at the end of the day.
 


Day 4: Ranfurly to Hyde - 46km


We head off from the Dansey’s Pass Inn to the Real Dog Equipment Company, to see the famous Antarctic huskies and Alaskan malamutes in action…… before starting the ride for the day (which has some of the best riding of the trip). We follow the trail from Waipiata to the edge of an old lake, before entering the Taieri Gorge. The trail then crosses through further tunnels and bridges……… before a fast downhill to the lovely cafe at the old hotel at Hyde.

The highlights of today's cycle include crossing the vast Maniototo Plains; following the Taieri River as it snakes around the Rock and Pillar Range; crossing the stone bridge over Cap Burn; and experiencing the 32 metre high Price's Creek Viaduct, and the 152 metre long tunnel.

In the afternoon we may, depending on weather and visibility, have time to visit the Macraes gold mine, at the top of the Taieri Ridge.

Our accommodation is at the Hyde Cafe and Accommodation.

 


Day 5: Hyde to Middlemarch - 27km  (all downhill!)


The highlight of the final day’s ride includes views of the Rock and Pillar and Taieri Ranges; the Hyde Railway Disaster memorial; and dropping down into the Strath Taieri Plain.

We end at Middlemarch – which is a small farming town that is well known for the Easter singles Ball. Girls travel there to meet eligible rugged young Southern Men who come down to the ball from their hill country stations.

In the afternoon we make our way back to Christchurch, arriving at around 6pm. Alternatively you can catch a shuttle back to Clyde or Queenstown, or extend your holiday with a ride on the historic Taieri Gorge Railway (additional cost) and finish in Dunedin.

This is a fantastic trip, particularly for novice cyclists who want to experience the wonderful scenery and pioneering history of Central Otago.
 
Accommodation:
  • Cycling
 
Hrs, KM

Dates For Next Summer

2017
  • January: 9, 23
  • February: 19
  • March: 20
  • April: 18 (full) 22
Please enquire for other dates for your group
btn enquire

 
Otago


What's Included

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

New Zealand Cycling Tours

Otago Rail Trail Cyclists Said....


"We will be back to do more. We enjoyed it so much and met some wonderful people along the way"
Dianna and Michael, NSW, November 2014
 

“Well organised and we enjoyed the knowledge that we were well supported all along the trail”
Julie and Richard, NSW , March 2014
 

“FUN,FUN,FUN just loved the whole trip”
Grahame and Pauline, Nelson, March 2014
 

“All very glad to have done it , a real sense of achievement”
Jan and Paul, Dianne and Ross, Auckland April 2013






The Otago Central Rail Trail


Accommodation

 
Day One
  • A charming turn of the century hotel converted into bed and breakfast accommodation in either ensuite or shared facility rooms.Guest lounge and dining room.

Day Two
  • The original local store, renovated to provide modern bed and breakfast accommodation. Private rooms with shared bathrooms, communal kitchen and lounge area.

Day Three
  • An historic stage coach inn, rooms are simply furnished, with ensuite bathrooms. Hotel has guest lounge with large open fire, bar and restaurant.

Day Four

  • The original traveller’s hotel, comfortable rooms with a selection of queen or twin beds, either ensuite or private bathroom across the hallway. Large guest lounge and kitchen.
 
 

Cycle Hire

We have cycles for hire and recommend you use them as they are tried and true in the areas we operate. All of our cycles are fully maintained and serviced before they leave. Included in the cost of your cycle hire is a cycle helmet and safety vest You may use your own cycle, but please ensure it is well maintained and fully serviced before your tour starts.

*Cost of bike hire for the Otago Rail Trail is NZ$170
*Cost of electric bike hire for the Otago Rail Trail is NZ$350
 
 

Food


You will enjoy great local cuisine; continental breakfasts and hearty packed lunches during the day, and either restaurant meals or wholesome home-cooked fare prepared by your host/hostess in the evenings.

If you have any dietary issues or food allergies, we are happy to cater for these, please advise the office of details when you make your booking.

All meals are included in your tour cost. Wine and other beverages are available to be purchased during dinners.
Otago Rail Trail Tour NZ
 
 

Fully Guided


Our guides are very experienced, friendly walkers and bikers who love to share their knowledge of New Zealand’s flora and fauna and local history. They all hold current first aid certificates, passenger driving licences and are the very best people to ensure your experience will be one to remember.
 
staff09t
Staff induction day
 
staff10t
End of season staff function
 
 

Exclusive to Tuatara Tours - Tour Kit Bag

To ensure you get the very best out of your journey with the least of fuss, we provide you with a calico kit bag full of useful goodies on the morning of your tour departure.

kit

otb
      Free Field and History Guide
 
 
 

Your Tour Kit Bag Contains the Following

Contents may vary from time to time!
  • Tuatara Tours cap
  • Tuatara Tours cup
  • Tuatara Tours drink bottle
  • Tuatara Tours hand sanitiser
  • Tuatara Tours tissues
  • Tuatara Tours lip balm and sunblock
  • Tuatara Tours emergency whistle
  • Tuatara Tours brochures
  • Field & History Guide of the area
  • Bag of Tuatara scroggin
  • Bag of Tuatara energy plus confectionary
Contents may vary from time to time!  


Luggage


Tuatara Tours transports all your luggage for the duration of the tour.

All you carry is a small day pack with your personal gear, drink and lunch.

We do the Rest


We Supply the following equipment

  • fully equipped tour kit as above
  • fitted bike helmet
  • hi viz safety vest
  • full hire bike repairs as necessary

You may bring your own bike or we can hire you one for the duration of the trip.
 

What Do I Bring


For your own safety there are a few things that you must bring yourself:
 
  • Comfortable cycling and or walking shoes
  • Thermal top - wool or polypro
  • Thermal bottom - wool or polypro
  • Waterproof parka with hood
  • Fleece jacket or woollen jersey
  • Woollen or fleece hat
  • Gloves
  • Medium size day pack
Other things we recommend you bring are:  
  • Cycle shorts
  • Cycle gloves
  • Hat, sunglasses
  • Drink bottle - at least one litre capacity (we supply you with one bottle, but you may wish to bring another)
  • Swimwear
  • Your sense of humour
  • Camera
  • Small personal first aid kit including blister block or similar
  • Casual attire for the evenings
  • Any other personal items
   

Safety and Risk Management


To ensure maximum safety for all, our guides are certified first aiders and fully qualified drivers. Tuatara Tours operate under a Safety and Risk Management Plan which is regularly audited and approved by a qualified and independent auditor.
 

Dates For Next Summer

2017
  • January: 9, 23
  • February: 19
  • March: 20
  • April: 18 (full) 22
Please enquire for other dates for your group
btn enquire

 
Otago


Photos

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

New Zealand Cycling Tours

Otago Rail Trail Cyclists Said....


"We will be back to do more. We enjoyed it so much and met some wonderful people along the way"
Dianna and Michael, NSW, November 2014
 

“Well organised and we enjoyed the knowledge that we were well supported all along the trail”
Julie and Richard, NSW , March 2014
 

“FUN,FUN,FUN just loved the whole trip”
Grahame and Pauline, Nelson, March 2014
 

“All very glad to have done it , a real sense of achievement”
Jan and Paul, Dianne and Ross, Auckland April 2013







Dates For Next Summer

2017
  • January: 9, 23
  • February: 19
  • March: 20
  • April: 18 (full) 22
Please enquire for other dates for your group
btn enquire

 
Otago


History

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

New Zealand Cycling Tours

Otago Rail Trail Cyclists Said....


"We will be back to do more. We enjoyed it so much and met some wonderful people along the way"
Dianna and Michael, NSW, November 2014
 

“Well organised and we enjoyed the knowledge that we were well supported all along the trail”
Julie and Richard, NSW , March 2014
 

“FUN,FUN,FUN just loved the whole trip”
Grahame and Pauline, Nelson, March 2014
 

“All very glad to have done it , a real sense of achievement”
Jan and Paul, Dianne and Ross, Auckland April 2013






 

Otago Central Rail Trail - Free Field and History Guide

On the Otago Rail Trail we provide you a comprehensive field and history summary of the area.
Otago Rail Trail Tour History  
  • History
  • Fauna
  • Flora
  • Geology
  • Did You Know?
  • Free Rail Trail Passport
  • And more...

People


Human occupation can be dated back 800 years.

Polynesians found their way to the plains and basins of the eastern and southern South Island, where the flightless moa were found.

Much of inland Otago was burnt in the moa hunts, and the forest was replaced by tussock.

Too cold to grow kumara (sweet potato), there was no horticulture.

Settlement was focused on the coast, where ocean fish, seabirds and seals were plentiful. People journeyed inland to harvest eels, forest birds such as weka and wood pigeons, and cabbage trees.

Maori also travelled to sources of highly-valued pounamu (greenstone) in the headwaters of rivers draining into Lakes Wakatipu and Wanaka, and on the South Island’s West Coast.

The discovery of gold brought a huge influx of Europeans and Chinese . The influx of Irish alongside Scots and English made the goldfields districts more Catholic and less Presbyterian than the rest of Otago.
 


Flora and Fauna


Flora: When humans first arrived in Central Otago, it was probably covered in forests of matai and totara.

Maori burnt much of the forest, which was unable to regenerate in the dry climate, and tussock took its place. Today tussock is most common on the heights. The lower-lying parts of Central Otago are planted in pasture with stands of orchard and shelter trees. These, particularly poplars, display dramatic colour changes in late autumn.

Beech forest grows on the Otago section of the Southern Alps, between 800 and 1,200 metres. Higher up this gives way to tussock, then subalpine plants, and then bare rock and snow.

Fauna: Otago today is known for its smaller animals, notably skinks. The rare Cromwell chafer beetle is found only in a small area near Cromwell.

There are also huge wetland areas where populations of water birds thrive.

Deer and pigs are present and are hunted recreationally.

Coastal Otago is home to seal and penguin colonies – including the rare yellow-eyed penguin – and to the royal albatross breeding grounds at Taiaroa Head.
 
Otago Rail Trail Tour Wildlife
Yellowhead
Otago Rail Trail Tour Wildlife
Buttercup
Otago Rail Trail Tour Gold
There's gold in them thar hills


Industry


Gold was the making of the area when discovered in 1861 however the gold was soon worked out and with the climate being so harsh the area was only sparsely settled by hardy farming stock.

Today gold is scarce with only the big mining companies able to extract it in any quantity.

Farming is the backbone of the area, but in recent years tourism has had a huge boost with the birth of the Otago Rail Trail, which has saved many small communities along its route from disappearing.
 

Dates For Next Summer

2017
  • January: 9, 23
  • February: 19
  • March: 20
  • April: 18 (full) 22
Please enquire for other dates for your group
btn enquire

 
Otago


  • qualmark act 1-461
  • qualmark v 1-335
  • logo doc-53
  • logo ctonz-722-382
  • A2O-453-751-819-458
  • tia-735-951

contact us

new zealand: 0800 377 378
australia: 1800 044 633
world: +64 3 962 3280
icon envelopeinfo@tuataratours.co.nz