2
introductory to moderate
Activities
  • 5 day cycle trail
Accommodation
  • 4 nights hotel/motel
  • 1 night Larnach Castle
Meals
  • 5 Dinners
  • 5 Lunches
  • 5 Breakfasts

6 Days$NZD

Trip Code: SOG7804

Trip highlights


  • Ride with Jed Kennedy and friends on your own private guided cycle tour
  • Admire the stunning new Lake Dunstan trail through the magnificent Cromwell Gorge
  • Enjoy easy riding in epic landscapes with big skies on the Otago Rail Trail
  • Go deep into history through tunnels, over bridges, along railways & riverside paths
  • Try your hand at curling in Naseby
  • Enjoy a marine wildlife cruise on the Sootychaser in Otago Harbour
  • Spend the night in the prestigious Larnach Castle and explore the grounds and gardens

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 on the Alps to Ocean trail alongside the shores of shimmering Lake Ohau surrounded by rugged mountains before we head to Lake Dunstan. Here 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. We spend our final night at Larnach Castle where we can explore the Castle and exquisite gardens before the chef prepares our final dinner.

Our expert guides will show you the best trailside highlights such as heritage sites, architectural gems, and vineyards with plenty of off-the-bike activities to enjoy along the way.

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


Your cycling adventure begins with the drive across the picturesque Canterbury Plains. After refreshments in Geraldine, we’ll continue through rolling farmland to Burke’s Pass and the Mackenzie Country, where Lake Tekapo soon appears as a bright blue jewel. After a brief stop to see the Church of the Good Shepherd, we'll continue onto Twizel for lunch. Our warm up ride today takes us along one of the prettiest sections of the Alps to Ocean trail. Firstly we ride alongside the vivid blue canals allowing us to get used to our bikes. At the Lake Ohau inlet the trail turns to easy singletrack which follows the edge of the lake giving us wonderful mountain and lake views, before meeting a quiet sealed road for the final 9km. We stay at Lake Ohau Lodge, a remote rustic ski lodge overlooking Lake Ohau. Later we enjoy our first group meal together and learn more about the week's riding. Be sure to head out after dark to see the incredible starry skies. Cycling distance: Twizel to Lake Ohau Lodge - 38km Accommodation: Lake Ohau Lodge - www.ohau.co.nz

Meals:  L,D

After breakfast we leave the snowy alps behind and head over the Lindis Pass to Cromwell, a drive of around 2 hours. 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. 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, and head to a boutique vineyard for a wine tasting before dinner at a local restaurant. Our accommodation tonight is in the heritage listed buildings of Olivers boutique lodge, a luxurious experience! Cycling distances: Smith’s Way to Cornish Point – 30km Cornish Point to Clyde via Lake Dunstan (Moderate) – 25km Clyde to Alexandra River Trail (Introductory) – 12km Accommodation - Olivers - www.olivers.co.nz

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we start our journey on the original Great Ride, the Otago Central Rail Trail. 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 the Cambrians and St Bathans and enjoy a walk around the surreal Blue Lake formed during the 1800s gold days. Enjoy a game of pool or banter at the Vulcan Hotel before tucking into a well-earned dinner. Cycling distance: 44km Accommodation: Lauder School B&B - www.lauderschool.co.nz

Meals:  B,L,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 with a great cafe, 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 Accommodation: Hawdun Lodge - www.hawkdunlodge.co.nz

Meals:  B,L,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 and onto Larnach Castle situated on the Otago Peninsula. New Zealand’s only Castle, built in 1871 by William Larnach, merchant baron and politician, for his beloved first wife Eliza. It took more than 200 workmen three years to build the Castle shell and master European craftsmen spent a further 12 years embellishing the interior. We are free in the afternoon to explore Castle and grounds and the exquisite, award winning gardens. We will stay in the Castle's boutique lodge accommodation. Tonight we will celebrate our trip finale with a 4 course 'trust the chef' menu in the Castle Dining Room. Cycling distance: 59km Accommodation: Larnach Castle - www.larnachcastle.co.nz

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, we head off to ride alongside the Otago Harbour to Portobello. This ride takes us down the harbour, surrounded by volcanic hills on both sides, and home to nesting albatross, penguins, and seals, as well as the site of historic shipwrecks. We’ll get a closer look as we board the vessel ‘Sootychaser’ for a mini wildlife tour across to Port Chalmers. The Sootychaser is named after the Sooty shearwater, New Zealand’s muttonbird, and on our tour we’ll hear about the history of the area, see the boats, make a detour to see harbour birds and Larnach Castle from a distance. From Port Chalmers we’ll drive north stopping to admire the Moeraki Boulders and for a wander around the Victorian Precinct and portside park in Oamaru. From there, we continue driving northwards across the Canterbury Plains, and back to Christchurch arriving around 6pm. Cycling distance: 15-20km

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • Tasty breakfasts (x5), lunches (x5), dinners (x5) catered to all dietary requirements
  • 4 nights comfortable motel/hotel accommodation on a twin share basis
  • 1 night at Larnach Castle
  • Curling at Naseby
  • Marine wildlife cruise in the Otago Harbour on the Sootychaser
  • Wine tasting at boutique Central Otago Vineyard
  • Bike hire - either standard bikes or e-bikes (with helmet)
  • Tasty nutritious snacks, drinks and treats
  • Full vehicle support along the trail including trailer for luggage
  • All transport from Christchurch and back to Christchurch
  • Pre departure information kit to help you plan and prepare
  • Otago Rail Trail passport

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • 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.


Bike information


Trail Surface


Grading

introductory to moderate  
2

The Lake Dunstan & Otago Central Rail Trail is graded introductory to moderate. The section of the Lake Dunstan Trail through the Cromwell Gorge on day 2 is moderately technical and is optional as it is more challenging with some short hills, narrow track, tight corners and exposure in places. There is an alternate ride for less confident riders. The Otago Central Rail Trail is graded introductory and is a good, hard packed wide trail with just one significant hill which is a gradual gradient as it follows the course of the old railway. Overall you will need a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy the trip 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. For those keen to ride through the Gorge, experience of rougher terrain and riding tight corners is recommended.


Departure dates


Want to organise a private group?

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

Priceper person from

$NZD

Options & Supplements*
    *Prices listed are per person

Essential information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Jed Kennedy & Friends - Lake Dunstan & 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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