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 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.
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.
Have you seen our Ladies Only West Coast Wilderness Trail E Bike Tour
5 days / 4 nights
An average level of fitness. Walk 7kms, Bike 25kms. Well formed tracks and roads with very little incline.
Another date in mind?We can build a tour especially for your group, please enquire for dates available.
Christchurch to Clyde Driving day - no biking
We depart from Christchurch for the drive south at approximately 8:30 to 9am travelling via the inland route through to Lake Tekapo and on to Twizel where we stop for lunch.
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.
Tonight we eat out at a restaurant in Clyde
Clyde to Lauder
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.
Dinner tonight is at a local cafe – BYO so you are welcome to bring some wine to enjoy with your meal.
Lauder to Ranfurly
Ranfurly Hawkdun Motel
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).
Ranfurly to Clyde
Ranfurly Hawkdun Motel
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.
Hyde to Middlemarch
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. ( The shuttle is at your own cost ).
This is a fantastic trip, particularly for novice cyclists who want to experience the wonderful scenery and pioneering history of Central Otago.
Double or twin share. If single room accommodation is requested, an additional fee per person is payable to cover this requirement for the duration of the tour.
Your E Bike hire is included in your tour cost
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. Alcohol is not included in the tour cost, but is available for purchase most nights.
Tuatara Tours transports all your luggage for the duration of the tour.
To ensure you get the very best out of your journey with the least of fuss, we provide you with a kit bag full of useful goodies.
This will be given to you at the start of your tour.
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.
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.