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Traveller Rating


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


5 daysfrom


Trip Code: TJFD

Trip highlights

  • Cycle the full 152km Otago Central Rail Trail at a leisurely pace over 5 days
  • Explore the tunnels and viaducts of the Poolburn Gorge and Ida Valley
  • Cycle through the scenic Maniototo Plains
  • Experience the local 'southern hospitality' of Central Otago
  • Add on Curling in Naseby, a Historic Hayes tour and/or a trip to St Bathans' Blue Lake

Our five-day self-guided Otago Central Rail Trail trip is our most leisurely itinerary, covering the entire 152km trail from Clyde to Middlemarch.

Explore the tunnels and viaducts of the Poolburn Gorge and Ida Valley, admire the stunning Maniototo Plains and enjoy local hospitality as you weave your way along the old railway line. 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 daily and transport you to where you need to be at the end of your trip. 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 Clyde depot will set you up for your first day of cycling. The first town along the trail is Alexandra (approx 8km from Clyde). Alex is 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. Tiger Hill's gradient is steady but easy; then it's downhill to your overnight accommodation in Omakau. The 5km loop to Ophir is highly recommended, with historic wooden and stone buildings from the gold-mining era, the iconic Daniel O'Connell suspension bridge and the Ophir Post and Telegraph Office, which is the longest running Post Office in the country.

Meals:  Nil

Today you'll cycle through the stunning Poolburn Gorge, which features historic tunnels and viaducts in a secluded rocky setting. The gorge then opens out to the vast expanse of the Ida Valley. A self-guided tour of Historic Hayes is included in your trip, and the cafe is an excellent lunch spot. Your accommodation tonight is in Oturehua.

Meals:  B

This section of the trail provides splendid views of the Hawkdun, and Ida Ranges as the trail gently climbs to 618 metres above sea level, its highest point, just before Wedderburn. The Wedderburn station site has the original station building, and a big green goods shed. The shed has gained iconic status since featuring in a painting by Central Otago artist Grahame Sydney. It is also an excellent spot in which to shelter. The trail then descends across the Maniototo Plains to Ranfurly, Maniototo's commercial centre and once a bustling railway town. Much of the town was rebuilt following a spate of fires in the 1930s, and it is now famous for its art deco architecture. This afternoon is a great time to go curling at the famous Naseby Indoor Curling Rink (add to your itinerary) before staying the night in Ranfurly.

Meals:  B

Today you'll encounter interesting features and landscapes, including extensive views of the Kakanui Mountains and Ida Range. The trail continues along the Maniototo Plain to Waipiata, Kokonga and past the former 2 km-wide Taieri Lake. Basalt stone was mined from the hills in this area to build Dunedin's grand railway station. The trail enters the beautiful Taieri Gorge, crosses the 91-metre long, 32-metre high Price's Creek Viaduct, through a 152 m-long fully-bricked tunnel and out onto the Strath Taieri plain. Stay the night in Hyde. Note: Due to low accommodation in Hyde, occasionally, we will shuttle you back to Waipiata.

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 shuttle back to Clyde (departing 2:30 pm) or on to Dunedin (departing 2:00 pm).

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 or Dunedin 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 Trust Donation

  • Transport to/from Queenstown
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Optional activities and upgrades
  • Travel insurance

Bike information

Trail Surface


Suggested extensions



The 5 day Otago Central Rail Trail is graded introductory and has an average cycling distance of 30km per day. 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 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 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
  • Transport from Middlemarch to DunedinNZD$107
  • 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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