Otago Central Rail Trail
- Price from:
- 850 NZD /person
- 0800 633 7245
- 64 3 442 7699
- Payment Types:
- Credit Card
- Travellers cheque
- Wire Transfer
- 4 days
- Location Start:
- Queenstown or Clyde
- Location Finish:
- Queenstown or Clyde
- Start time:
- 08.00 am
- End time:
- 06.00 pm
- We Speak:
Last updated: 09/28/2007
Cycle New Zealand's Otago Central Rail Trail with Off The Rails. Unique adventure with great bikes, personalised transport, heritage accommodation & fascinating excursions. Depart from Queenstown
Clyde to Omakau or Lauder (Clyde-Omakau 35km, Clyde-Lauder 44km)
We pick you up from your Queenstown hotel at 8.00a.m. and you should be pedaling off from Clyde on your personally-fitted Avanti Atomic mountain bike by 10 a.m.
It will probably take you an hour along the flats to Alexandra, home of the Wild Thyme Festival. From Alexandra, the trail climbs slowly, crosses the Manuherikia River and passes through the Tucker Hill gold diggings and within a couple of hours you can be lying in the grass outside the Chatto Creek pub enjoying lunch.
You can then grab Tiger Hill by the tail... but don't panic! The Rail Trail's maximum gradient is just one in 50, so you'll barely need to work up a steam.
After that, it's an easy hour or so riding downhill to Omakau. We can pick you up there, at the Muddy Creek Cafe, or experienced riders can push on to Lauder's Whitestone pub.
This afternoon, and every afternoon, we pick you and your bike up and head home to your heritage accommodation in Ranfurly for hot showers and a relax before your evening meal Dinner on this first night is planned for Ranfurly's Lion Hotel, which is a short walk from your accommodation and is one of the many examples of Art Deco architecture which so define the town today.
Omakau or Lauder to Wedderburn or Ranfurly (Lauder-Ranfurly 48 km, Wedderburn-Ranfurly 14km)
We will drop you off where you finished the day before - a short transfer of 20-30 minutes.
Just outside Lauder, the track crosses the Manuherikia River again via the Trail's second longest bridge at 110.6m. Then it's on through the Poolburn Gorge and its two tunnels, where you will see both dramatic schist bluffs and - on the 37m high Poolburn Viaduct - equally impressive intricate engineering of the quarried schist.
From here, slowly descend Raggedy Range to the Ida Valley - home to the rare NZ falcon, the Karearea. On your way into Oturehua, look out for the Ida Burn dam, which is used as a natural skating rink in winter.
Today's targeted lunch stop is the Oturehua Tavern, just across the road from Gilchrist's General Store, which is little changed since its opening in the 1930's.
Also well worth a visit is the Hayes Engineering Works, an easy 5 minute ride from Oturehua. Appointments are necessary, so our guides will liaise with you to make a booking.
Between Oturehua and Wedderburn, Rough Ridge marks the Rail Trail's high point (618m) and, nearby, you cross the latitude line of 45° south before heading down to Wedderburn. Here, liquid and home-made refreshments can be enjoyed at the Wedderburn Tavern, where you can await collection by your friendly van driver or continue to the tour's base in Ranfurly. Your guide will be in regular contact with you to ensure minimum waiting time.
On your second and third nights with us, we can make arrangements for you to expand your Maniototo experience by dining at one of the iconic pubs or restaurants within easy and scenic reach of Ranfurly. As many local restaurants are fully booked in the height of the summer season, we will email you closer to the time with our suggestions and restaurant availability Our guides will transfer you to and from the restaurants.
Wedderburn or Ranfurly to Hyde (Ranfurly-Hyde 32 kms)
Today, the Rail Trail crosses the southern Maniototo plain to Waipiata before following the Taieri River to Daisybank and Hyde, where the cone-shaped hills remind you of ancient volcanic activity in the area.
The Waipiata Country Hotel offers all-day dining and packed lunches, so you may choose to buy a picnic lunch to enjoy later alongside the river.
You can once again marvel at the delicate workmanship of days gone by on Cap Burn's bridge at Tiroiti and Price's Creek Viaduct. Take a torch for the Price's Creek Tunnel near Hyde - unless you like biking in the dark for 152m!
Your day's cycle ends at Hyde, where you can enjoy refreshments at the Otago Central Hotel's café - or relax on their verandah perhaps with a cold 'speights' or chilled glass of central Otago pinot gris and look back at the last leg of the day's ride while you wait for your driver to collect you.
Hyde to Middlemarch (27kms)
You will pass the Hyde Railway Station, and where 21 people lost their lives when the Cromwell to Dunedin passenger train crashed in June 1943 - the only serious accident in the history of the Otago Central Branch line.
As you leave the steep-sided Taieri Gorge behind, the valley broadens into the Strath Taieri plain. From here, you bike over flat or gently undulating land held between Taieri Ridge and the Rock and Pillar Range. Local knowledge holds that the characteristic cloud formations known as the Taieri Pet, form over the Rock and Pillar when strong northwest winds are approaching.
The trail ends just short of Middlemarch Railway Station. After due celebrations at the Kissing Gate Café, your van driver will collect you for the journey back to Queenstown or Dunedin on the historic Taieri George Scenic Train.
We know you will be rightfully proud of your accomplishment and take many wonderful memories home with you.
- Extras -
- All Rail Trail cycle tours include:
Front-suspension mountain bike, helmet and waterproof panniers
Accommodation in our superior heritage properties in Ranfurly
Afternoon tea on arrival at your accommodation
Dedicated transport to and from the Rail Trail each day
Booking and transport to iconic Maniototo eateries each evening
Rail trail passport
Optional excursion arrangements - 4WD Safari, curling, golf, fishing...
Couldn't find what you're looking for? Check out more tours & excursions in Queenstown
- Fiordland - from 940 NZD
- Remarkables Scenic - from 180 NZD
- Best of Lord of the Rings inc Milford Sound - from 1560 NZD
- Lord of the Rings Flight to the Ford - from 385 NZD
- Queenstown Garden Tour - from 96 NZD
- 3 Day 2 Night Tour - 3 days from 785 NZD
Email the tour operator - Otago Central Rail Trail
Important Notice : Avoiding Fraud
It's rare, but some helpful hints to watch out for with regards to fraud:
- It is important to NEVER wire funds or use/employ other fund transfer mechanisms such as western union: Always use a credit card to protect yourself against fraud. If owners pressure you into providing a deposit or refuse to accept credit cards, there is a high probability that this is a scam.
- If at all suspicious of fraud, ask to see their website, or any other literature they can provide or send to you. Ask them for contact details for guests who have previously stayed on their property insisting on telephone numbers. Be suspicious of emails that originate from free email services (yahoo, hotmail, gmail, etc)
- Research the property thoroughly on the internet to see if there is any history or mention of scams associated with the property.