Otago Rail Trail Explorer

tours / Cycling

Otago Rail Trail Explorer information and booking

  • Duration
    6 days
  • Group size
  • Difficulty
Check prices & availability

Schedule Details

  • 6 day trip
  • 6 day cycle
  • 5 nights hotel/motel


  • Cycle the historic Rail Trail
  • Spectacular views of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps
  • Explore old gold mining towns along the way
  • Cycle through tunnels and over rail bridges
  • Join a local farmer as we explore and learn about their farm
  • Try your hand at 'curling' - bowls on ice
  • Take a journey on the Taieri Express
  • Visit the historic warehouse quarter in Oamaru

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

Join us as we step back in time and ride the Central Otago Rail Trail. With more time to enjoy each day and soak up the atmosphere the Rail Trail Explorer is a great way to check out what all the hype is about without any of the pressure! The route follows the old Maniototo rail line from Clyde in central Otago, to Middlemarch. Our Otago Central Rail Trail cycling tour includes one of the world's great train trips as we travel on the spectacular Taieri Gorge railway into Dunedin. Fully supported all the way with no accommodation or luggage worries!

What's included

  • All breakfasts (excluding day 1) and 5 dinners
  • A great guide and transport during the christchurch to christchurch loop
  • Taieri gorge train trip
  • Accommodation as detailed based on a twin share basis
  • High country farm tour
  • Access and concession fees paid to the department of conservation
  • Nz goods and service tax (gst)
  • Otago central rail trail passport which contributes funds to the rail trail trust


Day 1 <a href="http://lonelyplanet.com/new-zealand/christchurch-and-canterbury/christchurch" class="partner" title="Christchurch">Christchurch</a> to Clyde
Important: The night before your tour is to depart your guide will call your pre tour accommodation to advise what time (approx 7:15am) they will collect you the following morning. (Please make sure you have given us information as to where you are staying). If you are not around when your guide calls they will leave a message at reception – its really important that you check with reception if you have not heard from your guide directly. If for any reason you have not heard from your guide by the morning of the tour please call us in the NZ office on 0800 00 11 66 (from within NZ). Once at our depot, a quick check of your bike – or a fitting of one of our fleet of rental bikes will precede the loading of the bike trailer that will see us departing by 8am. We’ll pick up lunch along the way in Geraldine then we start our cycle programme with a quiet ride alongside the Tekapo canal system with spectacular views of Mt Cook & the Southern Alps. Crossing over the Lindis Pass we descend down to Cromwell and travel alongside the scenic river gorge before arriving at the railhead at Clyde. The rest of the afternoon you will be free to explore this old goldmining town or there are other cycling options that your guide can advise you on. The evening will then be finished off with our first group dinner. Road Cycling - 22kms/14 miles
Day 2 Clyde to Omakau
The Rail Trail riding starts today as we leave town across the flat rural countryside. From Chatto Creek the trail starts to rise before leveling off to Omakau where we stop for lunch and our accommodation for the night. After lunch there will be time to check into the accommodation and refresh before a drive around the quaint township of Ophir. We will also drive to the top of the Raggedy Range to get a bird’s eye view of the trail and the path that it takes. 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. Rail Trail Ride – 35 kms/23 miles
Day 3 Omakau to <a href="http://lonelyplanet.com/new-zealand/ranfurly" class="partner" title="Ranfurly">Ranfurly</a>
On this day we ride through the first two tunnels and two rail bridges on the trip. With the willow tree edged gorge below the trail and the welcoming pools beckoning we finally emerge into the scenic Idaburn valley. One last short easy climb takes us to the summit of the trail and the beginning of the downhill descent that will take us to Wedderburn. We load up the bikes and a short drive takes us through to Ranfurly – our stop for the next two nights. After settling into our accommodation we lunch at a local café. You’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 people have the option of either joining us in playing curling; if you can imagine bowls on ice then you are on the right track – a lot of fun and its at the only dedicated curling rink in the Southern Hemisphere. If curling isn’t your thing then you can still come out to Naseby with us and enjoy a relaxing pint at the iconic Royal Hotel, walk around town or in the forest plantation. After the afternoon's activities we head back to Ranfurly for dinner and our night's accommodation. Rail Trail Ride – 40kms/26miles
Day 4 Ranfurly
We start the day off the bikes with a short drive back to Wedderburn and a farm tour. It’s more then just your standard farm tour checking out sheep with a great insight into the running of a fifth generation high country family operation. Enough history to keep you interested and Devonshire tea at the homestead to finish with. After the local insight its back onto the bikes and a short ride down to Ranfurly for lunch. Continuing on through the heart of the Maniototo Plain we ride through to Daisy Bank where you will meet your guide. We then load up the bikes and start to head back to Ranfurly. If time allows we will detour to vist MaCraes Gold Mine and enjoy the views from the spectacular Taieri Ridge. Once back in Ranfurly there is plenty of time to relax at the lodge or to explore more of the township. Rail Trail Ride – 38kms /25 miles
Day 5 Ranfurly to <a href="http://lonelyplanet.com/new-zealand/dunedin-and-otago/dunedin" class="partner" title="Dunedin">Dunedin</a>
We start the morning with a drive back to Daisy Bank from Ranfurly. After riding through one more tunnel you will be arriving into Hyde and our lunch spot. After lunch you’re on the home straight! 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 the Kissing Gate Cafe. However the day is not yet finished and if time allows we will visit the local “Stone Sheep Yards” before boarding the famous Taieri Express for a spectacular ride through the gorge described as one of the world's great train journeys. The train journey is included in your tour cost. We travel into Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South. Our dinner tonight is in the form of a group celebration at a classic Italian restaurant to acknowledge the 150kms of Rail Trail riding. Rail Trail Ride – 37kms/24 miles
Day 6 Dunedin to <a href="http://lonelyplanet.com/new-zealand/christchurch-and-canterbury/christchurch" class="partner" title="Christchurch">Christchurch</a>
The riding is still not finished as we head north to Oamaru, leaving behind those who wish to finish in Dunedin. First stop is Baldwin Street, reputedly the “steepest street in the world”, for a short but challenging early morning stroll! Then depending on time, the weather and what the group wants to do we will pop into the famous Fluer’s café in the picturesque Moreaki Village for a coffee. Or onto Moeraki Boulders – we might even be able to do both! Before turning onto the final quiet 24km coastal ride along the cliff tops and farms that take us into Oamaru. Here in the old warehouse quarter the early buildings are being restored creating a fascinating opportunity to explore the past as you relax at a local cafe. Back on the road again we continue across the Canterbury Plains and finally reach Christchurch where we will deliver you to your chosen accommodation at the trip end, approx 6pm. Coastal Rides - 24-40 kms/15-24 miles