Central Otago Discovery


    enquire now 5 Days From NZD $670 pp twinshare
    Independent traveller
    Terms & Conditions apply

    Explore some of the most scenic landscapes in New Zealand’s South Island by bike on the Otago Central Rail Trail at your own pace on this independent tour. The trail follows the old Central Otago railway line from Clyde to Middlemarch. The trail is vehicle-free, has an easy gradient and takes you through amazing scenery, through tunnels and over viaducts. Along the way, there are many old historic hotels to visit, experience wonderful cuisine and meet colourful local folk. Adding to the rail trail experience is a number of off trail activities that can be added onto your package. This package can also be completed in the opposite direction.

    Highlights

    • Cycle the full 152km of New Zealand’s first Rail Trail and Original Great Ride
    • Appreciate dramatic landscapes and distinctive Central Otago climate
    • Exploring the many wee townships on and off trail and experience the ‘southern hospitality’
    • Venture through tunnels and across viaducts
    • Learn a thing or two from the information filled Gangers sheds and old station sites along the trail

    Itinerary

    Day 1: Clyde to Alexandra: Cycle 8 or 16km
    Your adventure starts at the Clyde Depot for bike fitting and a briefing before setting off on the ride to Omakau. Between Clyde and Alexandra, the trail takes you past vineyards and over an old wooden trestle bridge. For the more adventurous, there is the option of riding on the River Track to Alexandra, along the banks of the Clutha River/Mata Au. The River Track adds about 8km to your ride, and requires a bit more confidence and concentration, but it is well worth it if time and energy allow. If you wish to explore further, the Roxburgh Gorge Trail follows the river into the gorge for 10km to Doctors Point.

    Day 2 Alexandra to Omakau: Cycle 28km
    From Alexandra, the trail heads out to Chatto Creek where the tavern serves an excellent lunch and is a recommended stop before Tiger Hill. The gradient is steady but easy, and then it is downhill to your overnight accommodation in Omakau. If you have time, we suggest riding the 5km loop to Ophir. This is an interesting settlement with historic wooden and stone buildings from the gold-mining era and a small, but iconic suspension bridge. There is also good food and coffee to be found in Ophir. (B)

    Day 3: Omakau to Wedderburn: Cycle 42km
    Beyond Lauder is the start of one of the most spectacular sections of the trail. The Poolburn Gorge, home to the rare New Zealand falcon and features tunnels and viaducts in a secluded rocky setting. The gorge then opens out to the vast expanse of the Ida Valley, made famous by the paintings of Graham Sydney. Oturehua is an interesting settlement with the old Gilchrist’s Store and the Oturehua Tavern. Other attractions include the historic Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead, as well as the remains of the Golden Progress Mine, just north of the town. The trail then takes you over the highest point, and down to your accommodation at Wedderburn. For your evening meal, the Wedderburn Tavern is just a short walk from your accommodation. (B)

    Day 4: Wedderburn to Hyde: Cycle 43km
    From Wedderburn, the trail is mostly downhill to Ranfurly, the Art Deco capital of Otago. Consider stopping here for morning tea and visit the I-Site in the old railway station and learn more about the history of the rail. Cross the Maniototo Plains to lunch at the Waipiata Tavern. The afternoon’s highlight is between Daisybank and Hyde, where the trail runs alongside the Taieri River over the Capburn and Prices Creek Bridges and through the last tunnel before arriving at your accommodation in Hyde. (B)

    Day 5: Hyde to Middlemarch: Cycle 29km
    The trail from Hyde passes the site of the 1943 Hyde railway disaster and on down through the wide-open spaces of the Strath Taieri Valley and alongside the impressive Rock and Pillar Range. The ride is downhill to the end of the trail at our Middlemarch Depot where you return your bike and equipment and consider purchasing a memento of your trip. If there is time, have a shower, before your onward transport back to Clyde, (B)

    Inclusions

    • Cycle equipment: trail bicycle, helmet, repair kit and odometer.
    • 4 nights accommodation based on economy twin share – option to upgrade to standard or luxury
    • 4 breakfasts
    • Daily luggage transfer – weight limit of 15kg
    • Personalised itinerary and map
    • Transport Middlemarch to Clyde. (Transport to/from Queenstown/Dunedin or other transport can be added)
    • Emergency trail support
    • E-bikes (optional upgrade)
    • Panniers (optional extra)

    WEX- TJC

    Images courtesy of WorldExpeditions