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Introductory to Moderate

Traveller Rating


  • 5 days self guided cycling
  • 4 nights comfort level
  • Superior and economy levels available
  • 4 Breakfasts


5 daysfrom


Trip Code: TJDO

Trip highlights

  • Visit the vineyards of Bannockburn
  • Ride the stunning Cromwell Gorge - the most popular part of the trail
  • Cycle the full 152km Otago Central Rail Trail at a leisurely pace over 4 days
  • Explore the tunnels and viaducts of the Poolburn Gorge and Ida Valley
  • Ride through the scenic Maniototo Plains
  • Experience the local 'southern hospitality' of Central Otago

Combine the new Lake Dunstan Trail with the iconic Otago Central Rail trail on this 5 day self-guided trip.

From Cromwell you'll head through the wine-country of Bannockburn before heading through the stunning Cromwell Gorge featuring swing bridges and 'clip-on' trails.

You'll then head out on the Rail Trail, exploring the tunnels and viaducts as you enjoy local hospitality and weave your way to Middlemarch. Extra activities such as curling in Naseby, Historic Hayes and a wine tour fit perfectly into this slower paced itinerary.

We'll move your luggage each day, book the best suited accommodation and transport you where you need to be. All you need to do is pedal and unwind from everyday life.

Scroll down to view the full itinerary, select your dates and fill out our booking form (please note this is tentative).

A morning briefing and bike fitting at our Highlands depot in Cromwell, or our Clyde depot, will get you set for your first day of cycling on the Lake Dunstan Trail. You can meet us there or you can add on a shuttle from Queenstown. Cycle through the Bannockburn wine-country before heading through the breathtaking Cromwell Gorge along the Clutha/Mata-au River to Clyde, stopping at the coffee boat along the way (if it's there). Stay the night in Clyde.

Meals:  Nil

After breakfast, it's time to start your ride on the Otago Central Rail Trail. After 8km you'll reach Alexandra, a great place to stop for a coffee and a cheese roll. You'll then head towards Chatto Creek where the tavern serves an excellent lunch and is a recommended stop before Tiger Hill. The gradient is steady but easy, and then it is downhill to your overnight accommodation. The 5km loop to Ophir is highly recommended, with historic wooden and stone buildings from the gold-mining era and the iconic suspension bridge. Stay the night in Omakau, Ophir or Lauder depending on your preference and accommodation availability.

Meals:  B

Today you'll cycle through the stunning Poolburn Gorge. This section features historic tunnels and viaducts in a secluded rocky setting. The gorge then opens out to the vast expanse of the Ida Valley. A tour of Historic Hayes is popular among our cyclists and is a great spot for lunch, as is the settlement of Oturehua just further down the road. Stay the night in Wedderburn.

Meals:  B

This morning is a great time to go curling at the famous Naseby Indoor Curling Rink Cycle (add to your itinerary) before cycling through Ranfurly and across the Maniototo Plains to Waipiata. Stay the night in Waipiata, or continue cycling through to Kokonga or Hyde depending on your preference and accommodation availability.

Meals:  B

Your last day on the trail passes the site of the 1943 Hyde railway disaster and down through the wide-open spaces of the Strath Taieri Valley and the impressive Rock and Pillar Range. The ride is downhill to the end of the trail at our Middlemarch Depot where you return your bike and equipment and catch your transport back to Clyde. Cromwell or Queenstown, or on to Dunedin.

Meals:  B


  • Standard bike hire for 5 days including helmet, repair kit and odometer (e-bike upgrade available)
  • 4 nights' comfort accommodation on twin share basis (superior upgrade available)
  • Transport from Middlemarch to Clyde at the end of your trip (Transport to/from Queenstown can be added)
  • 4 x breakfasts
  • Daily Luggage transfers (weight limit of 15kg per bag, 1 bag per person)
  • Detailed trip itinerary and map
  • Otago Central Rail Trail Passport
  • Haehaeata National Heritage and Lake Dunstan Trail Trust Donations

  • Extra transport (e.g. to/from Queenstown or Dunedin)
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Optional activities and upgrades
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance

Bike information

Trail Surface


Suggested extensions


Introductory to Moderate  

The 5 day Lake Dunstan and Rail Trail is graded Introductory to Moderate. The Lake Dustan trail has a mix of introductory and moderate trails that include some narrow, hilly and remote sections with some tight turns. If you are not a regular cyclist or are worried about these features, we recommend practicing riding on similar features at home before your trip. The Otago Central Rail Trail is wide with a gentle gradient. You'll need to be comfortable riding 30-45km over 5 days. The more training you have done on compacted gravel, the more enjoyable your trip will be. E-bikes are also suitable as long as they are ridden appropriately and have sufficient battery capacity.

Departure dates

Departs daily


All bookings are tentative. Our team will do their best to get back to you within 48 hours to confirm your booking. If your preferred date is within 48 hours please contact our office
Due to the rural location of the Otago Central Rail Trail, our superior upgrade offers a higher level of lodgings at locations where available.

Want to organise a customised tour?

School groups, friends, family trips, corporate events and even making the trail accessible for everyone. Learn how you can organise a Customised Tour with Trail Journeys.

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Transport from Queenstown to Clyde (return)NZD$215
  • Electric Bike UpgradeNZD$400
*Prices listed are per person and also from


Otago Central Rail Trail Highlights

Trip reviews

Why travel with us

First On The Trail

Trail Journeys is the largest and longest serving bike hire business on the Otago Central Rail Trail. We have helped more cyclists explore our region since the trail opened in 2000 than any other company.


Our team is passionate about the Central Otago Region and their extensive knowledge and experience means you get the very best advice - every time. We will help you tailor the right cycling itinerary for your needs.

Quality services

Expect first-class and flexible support both on and off the trail. With regular bag, passenger and bike transport services, expert cycle mechanics and experienced consultants, enjoy a stress free cycling trip with Trail Journeys.

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