Discovering Otago's Bike Trail: A Journey of Adventure and Unforgettable Experiences

Soaking up the sun on our ride | Tara A
Soaking up the sun on our ride | Tara A

Review: Tara bikes the Otago Central Rail Trail

Our team really appreciates receiving beautifully written reviews from our travellers. So it was no surprise that we were delighted to read about Tara's recent biking holiday in New Zealand. Read on and follow Tara's journey as she experiences the iconic Otago Rail Trail for the first time. She had the chance to try out one of our new e-bikes on her self-guided cycling experience allowing Tara and her cycling partner to take breaks and soak up the scenery along the way. 

Over to you, Tara.



In pursuit of an active, purposeful holiday teeming with both planned itineraries and an essence of spontaneity, I found myself drawn to the Otago bike trail, about an hour's drive from Queenstown. What began as the transformation of a rail trail into a dedicated bike route turned into a captivating expedition, blending adventure with exploration in the mesmerizing landscapes of New Zealand.

The allure of cycling through breathtaking countryside without the worry of encountering cars made this journey truly unique. The trail unveiled a tapestry of experiences, each stop presenting a different facet of scenic marvels and historical remnants.


The journey commenced in Clyde, a picturesque town that set the stage for the adventure ahead. From the cozy accommodations to the welcoming pub and cafes, Clyde encapsulated the essence of the escapade that awaited.


However, the true gem of this expedition revealed itself at Hayes Engineering. This hidden treasure, steeped in history and frozen in time, with its impeccably preserved workshop and historic house, transported me to an era long past, a testament to the region's rich heritage.


 As the trail unfolded, it presented a collage of varied scenery and a myriad of delights for the senses. Quaint bridges, remnants of railway life, distant snow-capped peaks, pastoral farms with grazing cattle and playful spring lambs, and charming villages all contributed to the picturesque postcard views along the route. The symphony of babbling rivers, birdsong, wild thyme, and vibrant yellow flowers added an enchanting touch to the surroundings.

The culinary delights along the trail were a delightful surprise. From the delectable treats at Alexandra Cafe to the standout pies at Waipiata and the home-cooked wonders at Hyde School, each stop offered a wonderful chance to refuel ready for the next leg of the trip.


One of the most satisfying aspects was cycling into Wedderburn, feeling a sense of accomplishment after conquering the highest point of the trail for the day. The cozy cottage accommodation offered respite, followed by a short stroll to the local pub for a warm welcome from the amiable locals.

Cycling the trail with an e-bike offered flexibility in tackling the varying terrain. While not physically demanding, the changing weather added an extra layer of intrigue. Proper clothing and equipment were crucial, transforming potential challenges into mere moments in the journey.


A surprising revelation was the time commitment required for each leg of the trail. Covering the distance to reach lunch spots or picturesque locations took a substantial part of the day. Yet, this unhurried pace allowed for complete immersion in the stunning vistas and seamless navigation thanks to excellent trail signage.


For future adventurers, I recommend allowing ample time to relish the journey, averaging around 37km per day. Take breaks to capture the stunning views through your lens and consider padded seat covers or specialized biking gear for comfort during extended hours on the saddle.


The journey's culmination brought the realization of the distance from Middlemarch to Clyde, suggesting that a night's stay in Clyde at the end might be preferable for some, rather than making the three-hour drive to Queenstown.


Trail Journeys orchestrated this adventure seamlessly, ensuring our needs were met and enhancing the experience with insightful briefings, notable highlights along the route, and impeccable accommodations awaiting us each night.

In conclusion, the Central Otago bike trail journey was undeniably a bucket list experience, seamlessly blending adventure, exploration, and the sheer joy of discovering the hidden gems tucked away in New Zealand's mesmerizing landscapes.

>> View our 4 Day Otago Central Rail Trail itinerary and availability here.

Images and review written by Tara.


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