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1
introductory

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • 5 day cycle trail
Accommodation
  • 4 nights hotel/motel
Meals
  • 4 Dinners
  • 1 Lunch
  • 4 Breakfasts

5 Days$2095NZD

Hit the trails with confidence

100% refundable trips
Receive a full refund under our covid-19 T&Cs

$200 Deposits
for all new bookings on all trips

COVID safety measures
are in place with extra cleaning and hygiene protocols

Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to a maximum of 14 people


Trip Code: ORQ

Trip highlights


  • Ride the stunning new Lake Dunstan trail through the magnificent Cromwell Gorge
  • Enjoy easy riding in epic landscapes with big skies
  • Go deep into history through tunnels, over bridges, along railways & riverside paths
  • Try your hand at curling in Naseby
  • Admire architectural gems in Clyde, Ophir, Ranfurly, Dunedin, Oamaru & beyond
  • Savour delicious local wine & food, and stay in great accommodation
  • Explore Oamaru’s atmospheric Victorian precinct and the Pacific Coast

Why Book With Us

  • Pioneers in group cycle tours since 1992
  • Stay at the historic Dunstan House in Clyde and quaint Lauder School
  • Our support vehicle is always nearby if you are feeling tired
  • Flexibility to change the itinerary on tour if effected by weather or trail closures

Ride through an array of spectacular southern landscapes on our fully guided and supported trip taking in both the Lake Dunstan Trail and Otago Central Rail Trail.

The adventure begins with a warm up ride alongside the shimmering waters of Lake Dunstan before we have the option to ride through the dramatic Cromwell Gorge on the new Lake Dunstan Trail.

Then you’re off on New Zealand’s first and most famous Great Ride. Following the old Otago Central railway line from Clyde to Middlemarch, this iconic, multi-day ride takes in grand landscapes, charming towns, country hospitality and rich history.

Our expert guides will show you the best trailside highlights such as heritage sites, architectural gems, and vineyards.

You’ll also enjoy delicious local food and drink, and friendly welcomes in accommodation full of character.


We’ll meet in downtown Queenstown at 8:00am and drive through the picturesque Kawarau Gorge to Cromwell. We unload the bikes at Smith’s Way and start our journey with an easy ride following the glistening shores of Lake Dunstan. We pass through Cromwell’s Old Town, a small historic precinct dating back to the gold rush days of the 1800s, where galleries, coffee shops and boutiques give us a short break from the bike. The trail continues along the Kawarau arm of Lake Dunstan to the Bannockburn Bridge offering stunning views across the lake while passing by wineries and olive groves. This is the perfect stop for lunch and a wine tasting at a nearby boutique vineyard. From Cornish Point some riders will continue on along the new Lake Dunstan Trail into the dramatic Cromwell Gorge, where the track winds around sheer rockfaces and over lake inlets on impressively engineered platforms and bridges rising above the lake to Clyde. For those riders who wish to avoid the more demanding section through the gorge, there will be an option drive to Clyde and ride all or part of the easier river trail to Alexandra, or explore the small historic town. We will all meet again in Clyde, settle into our comfortable accommodation and enjoy our first group dinner in the early evening. Cycling Distances: Smith’s Way to Cornish Point – 30km/18miles Cornish Point to Clyde via Lake Dunstan (Moderate) – 25km/15miles Clyde to Alexandra River Trail (Introductory) – 12km/7miles each way

Meals:  L,D

Leaving Clyde via the historic railway line, we’ll track across rural plains encircled by dramatic mountain ranges. Beyond the tiny settlement of Chatto Creek, the trail climbs gently before levelling off to reach our lunch stop, Omakau. We’ll then hop on the bus for the short detour to must-see Ophir township and the Raggedy Range lookout for a bird’s eye view of region. Back on the bikes, it’s another 9km of easy riding to reach Lauder. Late afternoon we’ll drive to St Bathans for a walk around the surreal Blue Lake formed during the 1800s gold days. Enjoy a game of pool or banter at the Lauder pub before we tuck into a well-earned dinner. Cycling distance: 44km/27miles

Meals:  B,D

Today’s ride features the trip’s first tunnels and bridges as we trace the pretty Poolburn Gorge and head into the Idaburn Valley. We’ll stop at Hayes Engineering Works, a delightfully rustic heritage site, and Oturehua’s old-fashioned grocery store. After lunch, it’s a gentle climb to the rail trail’s highpoint, then a downhill roll to Ranfurly with its striking art deco architecture. Late afternoon, we’ll take the short drive to Naseby, a cute forestry town famous for its indoor curling rink. Here’s your chance to try ‘bowls on ice’ – it’s very addictive! Naseby is also terrific for a stroll or a sup at the old pub, both nice ways to wind down before we return to Ranfurly for dinner. Cycling distance 47km/29 miles

Meals:  B,D

Today combines the trip’s biggest daily distance with some of its most fun riding. The trail tracks towards Waipiata, then follows the edge of an old lake before entering the Taieri Gorge with yet more bridges and tunnels. It’s a flowing downhill run to the historic Hotel Hyde, a picturesque spot for a breather. From here, the final 27km takes in the poignant 1943 Hyde rail disaster memorial, then wends across rolling plains towards the trail’s end at Middlemarch. After lunch, we’ll board the support vehicle for the drive to Dunedin where we‘ll celebrate our trip with a final group dinner. Cycling distance: 59km/37 miles

Meals:  B,D

After breakfast, it’s a fond farewell to fellow riders leaving us in Dunedin. For the rest of us, it’s off to Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street. After a short but sharp walk up and down again, we’ll continue driving north to admire the Moeraki Boulders. Further north, we’ll get back in the saddle for a final ride along the coast, through rural countryside to reach Oamaru. There, wander around the portside park and historic Victorian Precinct to enjoy boutique shopping, dining, and photo ops galore. After lunch we continue driving northwards across the Canterbury Plains, and on to Christchurch for a central city drop-off around 6pm. Cycling distance: 24km/15 miles

Meals:  B

Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.



Inclusions

  • Tasty breakfasts (x4), lunch (x1), dinners (x4) catered to all dietary requirements
  • 4 nights comfortable motel/hotel accommodation on a twin share basis
  • Curling at Naseby
  • Experienced guides who handle all the hard bits and share epic stories (2 guides on groups of 8 or more)
  • Tasty nutritious snacks, drinks and treats
  • Full vehicle support along the trail including trailer for luggage
  • Transport from Queenstown to Christchurch
  • Pre departure information kit to help you plan and prepare
  • Otago Rail Trail passport
  • Concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • Bike hire (including helmet)
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)

About Your Leader

Our guides are one of our biggest assets and we pride ourselves on their level of quality and high standards. Once the trip reaches 8 people, we provide you with two of our expert guides to maximise your enjoyment and overall experience. You’ll know you’re in safe hands as all of our guides are certified in first aid and CPR and many of them are trained bike mechanics. They come from all walks of life but our guides have a common desire to give you the best possible experience, fun and lots of fond memories to take home with you.


Accommodation


Bike information


Trail Surface


Grading

introductory  
1

The Lake Dunstan & Otago Central Rail Trail is graded introductory. There is a mix of wide and narrow trails with a few undulating hills. The gorge section of the Lake Dunstan Trail on day 1 is optional as it is more difficult with some short hills, narrow track and tight corners. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and we suggest 2 hours of cycling per week for the three months leading up to your trip. We recommend training on compacted gravel trails, and completing a multi-day ride prior to your trip to get used to being in the saddle for long periods of time. The more training you have done on hills and on compacted gravel, the more enjoyable your trip will be.


Departure dates


Notes

HS
Holiday Season
P
Easter Holiday Supplement
IT1
This is an e-Bike only tour
NB:
See more dates on our other Otago Central Rail Trail departures. E-bikes welcome, although there may be cyclists on regular bikes.

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$2095NZD

Options & Supplements*
  • Easter Holiday SupplementNZD$100
  • Bike RentalNZD$170
  • Single Supplement - Limited to 2 per departureNZD$450
  • e-Bike Rental (subject to availability)NZD$500
*Prices listed are per person

Essential information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Lake Dunstan and Otago Central Rail Trail trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


Trip reviews


Videos

Otago Central Rail Trail Tours NZ

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