100% RefundsIf NZ enters Level 3 or 4See COVID-19 Information Hub
1
introductory

Traveller Rating

 

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

5 Days$1895NZD

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: ORT

Otago Rail Trail Trip highlights


  • Cycle the dedicated cycle trails of NZ's original great ride
  • Go deep into history through tunnels, over bridges, along railways & riverside paths
  • Experience the local 'southern hospitality' of Central Otago
  • Savour delicious local wine & food, and stay in great accommodation
  • Admire architectural gems in Clyde, Ophir, Ranfurly & Dunedin
  • Try your hand at 'curling' in Naseby
  • 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

Experience the full breadth and depth of New Zealand’s original Great Ride on our fully guided and supported trip on the Otago Central Rail Trail.

You’ll enjoy easy riding on this trail created especially for cyclists, walkers and horses.

Following the old branch line from Clyde to Middlemarch, it takes in grand landscapes, railway heritage and charming country towns.

Our expert guides will show you the trail’s best sights such as gold rush relics, architectural gems and amazing natural wonders. There’s even a chance to try the ancient art of curling at the Southern Hemisphere’s only indoor rink.

Start the trip in either Christchurch or Clyde, and finish in Christchurch or Dunedin.


Your adventure begins with the drive across the picturesque Canterbury Plains. After pausing for refreshments at the sweet country town of Geraldine, we’ll continue through rolling farmland to reach Fairlie where we’ll stop for lunch. The scenic journey over Burke’s Pass is a fitting introduction to the famous Mackenzie Country, where Lake Tekapo soon appears as a bright, blue jewel. Hopping on our bikes, we’ll warm up with an easy ride along peaceful hydro-canals lined with epic panoramas of the Southern Alps. Driving over the stunning Lindis Pass to reach Central Otago, we’ll arrive in Clyde. Enjoy a relaxing stroll around the old town or get back on the bike for a short ride along the mighty Clutha–Mata-au River before we meet up for our first group dinner. Cycling distance: 22km/14 miles; optional additional riding in the afternoon

Meals:  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/27 miles

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 a well-earned café lunch, we’ll board the support vehicle for the drive through to Dunedin where we‘ll celebrate our trip with a final group dinner. Cycling distance: 59km/37 miles

Meals:  B,L,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: 24–40km/15–24 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
  • Experienced guides who handle all the hard bits and share epic stories
  • Tasty nutritious snacks, drinks and treats
  • Wine tasting at a Central Otago vineyard and curling at Naseby
  • Full vehicle support along the trail including trailer for luggage
  • Transport from Christchurch (return)
  • Otago Rail Trail passport
  • Pre departure information kit to help you plan and prepare
  • 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 Otago Rail Trail Classic is graded introductory. The trail is wide with a compacted gravel trail surface and a gentle 1 to 50 gradient. 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
Public Holiday Supplement
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

$1895NZD

Options & Supplements*
  • Public 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 Otago Rail Trail Classic 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.


Otago Rail Trail Trip reviews


Otago Rail Trail Videos

Otago Central Rail Trail Tours NZ

Similar trips

Celebrating at the top of the Tarnbrae high point! | Rebecca Ryan
New Zealand
 
121 Reviews
Stunning view of the mighty Aoraki/Mt Cook towering above Lake Pukaki | Neil Bowman
New Zealand
 
15 Reviews
Nothing beats cycling beneath the mighty Aoraki/Mt Cook | Daniel Thour
New Zealand
 
16 Reviews
Cycling through the West Coast wetlands | Lachlan Gardiner
New Zealand
 
3 Reviews
Join Newsletter
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ADS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Adventures South"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Adventure South</div>
Adventure South NZ is unrivalled in their geographic coverage, originality and overall quality of adventures holidays in New Zealand. Choose from walking, cycling, winter or multi-activity holidays, on either the North or South Island.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/AWH.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Walking Holidays"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Walking Holidays</div>
Australian Walking Holidays specialises in small group guided walking adventures. Since 1982 we have been guiding small groups of travellers on Australia's finest walks across our tropical, coastal or red centre landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GCT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Canadian Trails"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Canadian Trails</div>
Great Canadian Trails specialises in active holidays in Canada. With both guided and supported self-guided options available, our unique itineraries draw upon some of Canada's most inspiring parks, trails and landscapes from coast to coast.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/HUM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Humac Challenge"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Huma Charity Challenge</div>
Huma enables those with adventurous spirits to challenge themselves and make a difference for a cause close to their heart. Travel, fundraise and meet life-long friends on one of Huma's meaningful and unique challenges around the world.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TAS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Tasmania Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Tasmanian Expeditions</div>
Tasmanian Expeditions is the most experienced operator of treks and adventure travel holidays in Tasmania. We own and operate the most comprehensive range of adventure holidays available across Tasmania's varied landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/UTX-new.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Utracks"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>UTracks</div>
UTracks are the active European holiday specialists. Whether you prefer cycling or walking, 2-star or 4-star, small groups or self guided, land, river or sea – UTracks can help you to explore Europe exactly the way you want.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WYA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Youth Adventures"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Youth Adventures</div>
World Youth Adventures is our specialist division dedicated to organising tailor made overseas school group adventures. Specialists in Service Learning projects, choose from more destinations than any other school group provider.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/YOM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Yomads"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Yomads</div>
Yomads offers adventures for the 20s and 30s on six continents. Designed as a way to bring young and likeminded travellers together, Yomads caters to those interested in lightly structured and active trips that allow freedom to roam and explore.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ACT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Cycle Tours"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Cycle Tours</div>
Australian Cycle Tours specialises in high quality self guided and guided cycling experiences in a selection of the most beautiful regions in Australia.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WEX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Expeditions</div>
The pioneers of original, worldwide adventure travel holidays since 1975
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TJX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Trail Journeys"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Trail Journeys</div>
Self-guided cycling experts on New Zealand's Otago Rail Trail and more
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/BMAC.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Blue Mountains Adventure Company"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Blue Mountains Adventure Company</div>
The original Blue Mountains canyoning, hiking, climbing and abseiling experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GWNZ.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Walks of New Zealand"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Walks of New Zealand</div>
Explore New Zealand's most spectacular wilderness regions with the self-guided hiking experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/NAA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="North America Active"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>North America Active</div>
USA Canada hiking & cycling tour specialists, choose from self-guided or guided trips