An independent tour designed to showcase the beauty of the Central Otago landscape and the overwhelming history this area has to offer. You will cycle through timeless landscapes, as if cycling through a Grahame Sydney painting and experience, indulge and learn about the fascinating history of the places, villages and people you meet.
Suggested Tour Itinerary
This tour includes a train trip on the Taieri Gorge Railway from Dunedin to Middlemarch, six nights' accommodation at historic luxury bed and breakfast homesteads or hotels, bike hire, daily bag transfers, transfers to and from the Rail Trail, and a spectacular four wheel drive safari through the rugged mountains high above the Maniototo Plain. We provide a comprehensive Luxury Rail Trail Tour itinerary with all the information you require to have a trouble-free, enjoyable and relaxing Rail Trail Experience.
The suggested tour itinerary can be altered to suit your individual needs. The tour can be completed in as few or as many days as you wish and you can start at either end of the Rail Trail or anywhere along the Trail. Please contact us to discuss your Rail Trail requirements.
Taieri Gorge Railway Experience one of the world’s great train trips. The train departs daily from the historic Dunedin Railway Station and takes you on a journey through the rugged and spectacular Taieri River Gorge, across wrought iron viaducts and through tunnels carved by hand more than 100 years ago.
Accommodation at The Rocks, Middlemarch.
Cycle 27km from Middlemarch to Hyde You will be transported to Middlemarch where you will be professionally fitted onto your hire bikes. Each bike is custom made for the Rail Trail and is fitted with pannier bags, a puncture repair kit and a helmet. Once you are comfortable on your bike you will begin your 151km journey on the Otago Central Rail Trail.
From Middlemarch you will cycle through productive farmland with the 1400m high Rock and Pillar Range as a backdrop to the west and the Strath Taieri Ridge as a backdrop to the east. The Rail Trail passes through the heart of the Strath Taieri Plains with good views of the lush farmland and surrounding mountains. 4km south of Hyde is the site where Locomotive AB782 derailed on a bend due to excessive speed. The tragedy claimed 21 lives and for many years it was New Zealand’s worst rail disaster. South of the crash site alongside State Highway 87 a commemorative cairn records the names of those who lost their lives.
Accommodation at Otago Central Hotel, Hyde.
Cycle 32km from Hyde to Ranfurly From Hyde you will cycle over historic stone bridges, over the 32m high Prices Creek viaducts and through the 152m long Prices Creek tunnel. You will follow the Taieri River through the picturesque gorge which opens up to Kakanui Mountains and Mount Ida Range. You will cycle through the vastness of the Maniototo Plain towards Ranfurly.
Maniototo 4WD Safari You will travel 4000ft above sea level into the Mount Ida Range. You will pass through spectacular rugged tussock country and enjoy breath-taking views of the Maniototo.
Cycle 25km Ranfurly to Oturehua From Ranfurly you will cycle through the productive, irrigated farmland of the Maniototo known as ‘big sky country.’ You will cycle past the iconic Wedderburn Station Goods Shed made famous in the Grahame Sydney painting ‘July on the Maniototo.' Just beyond Wedderburn the trail reaches its highest point, 618m above sea level. Down hill from here!
Accommodation at The Mill Bed and Breakfast, Oturehua.
Cycle 30km from Oturehua to Omakau Just past Oturehua you will pass the Ida Burn Dam, famous for curling in the winter and the gathering-spot of the Brass Monkey Motorbike Rally every Queen’s Birthday. You will cycle through the heart of the Ida Valley before entering the spectacular Poolburn Gorge. You will cycle through schist cuttings, past step sided man-made embankments, through two long tunnels and over the 37m high Poolburn Viaduct. From Lauder to Omakau the trail is relatively flat as it passes through the productive farmland of the Manuherikia Valley bordered by the Dunstan Mountains to the west, Blackstone/Raggedy Range to the east and the Hawkdun Range straight ahead.
Accommodation at The Old Bakery Bed and Breakfast, Ophir.
Cycle 35km from Omakau to Clyde From Omakau to Chatto Creek the trail follows a sweeping ‘S’ designed to get the old steam trains up Tiger Hill, the steepest section on the trail – lucky you are cycling down it! From Chatto Creek you will pass through schist rock landscapes and follow the course of the Manuherikia River. From Alexandra to Clyde you can either choose to cycle on the Rail Trail or alongside the Clutha River on the Millennium walking/cycling track.
Accommodation at Dunstan House, Clyde.
Transfers to your preferred destination, e.g. Queenstown, Dunedin or Christchurch.
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