Most Otago Central Rail Trail trips are fully booked til mid May. Experience it on this trip.

Traveller Rating


  • 8 day self-guided cycle
  • 7 nights comfort level
  • Superior and economy levels available
  • 7 Breakfasts


8 daysfrom


Trip Code: TJFT

Trip highlights

  • Cycle the full 152km Otago Central Rail Trail from Middlemarch to Clyde
  • Explore the tunnels and viaducts of the Poolburn Gorge and Ida Valley
  • Ride through the stunning Cromwell Gorge on the new Lake Dunstan Trail
  • Follow the mighty Clutha River/Mata-Au through dramatic gorges, past orchards and lush farmland
  • Discover old gold mining relics through the Roxburgh Gorge
  • Enjoy a jet boat transfer from Shingle Creek to Doctors Point
  • Experience the local 'southern hospitality' of Central Otago

The complete Central Otago cycling experience, combining the full Otago Central Rail Trail, Lake Dunstan Trail, Roxburgh Gorge Trail and Clutha Gold Trail.

Over 8 days, you'll encounter the iconic tunnels and viaducts of the Ida Valley and Poolburn Gorge, the picturesque gorges of the mighty Clutha Mata-Au River, local vineyards and restaurants and plentiful gold mining history.

The itinerary begins in Middlemarch (the Dunedin end of the Otago Central Rail Trail) and finishes in Lawrence at the end of the Clutha Gold Trail. A shuttle from Dunedin can be added at the start and end of your trip.

Extra activities such as curling in Naseby and Hayes Engineering Works fit perfectly into this slower paced itinerary. A wine or 4WD tour day can be added before or after your cycling trip.

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 Middlemarch depot will get you set for your first day of cycling on the Otago Central Rail Trail. Meet us in Middlemarch or you can add on a shuttle from Dunedin. You're first day will take you through the Strath Taieri Valley, below the long flat-topped Rock and Pillar mountain range. After 23km you'll pass the site of the 1943 Hyde railway disaster before reaching Hyde itself. Stay the night in Hyde, or continue on to Kokonga (14.5km) or Waipiata (24.5km) depending on your preference or accommodation availability.

Meals:  Nil

Today you'll head through 'Art Deco' Ranfurly before riding west across the open Maniatoto Plains. Here you'll reach Wedderburn, and your accommodation for the night. The iconic green Goods Shed and original Wedderburn station are features of this small township. This afternoon is a great opportunity to visit Naseby to go curling at the famous Naseby Indoor Curling Rink Cycle (add to your itinerary).

Meals:  B

After breakfast, you'll gently climb to the highest point on the trail, crossing the 45° south latitude twice, as you head towards Oturehua. Make sure you visit Gilchrist's Store before continuing a short distance along the trail to Hayes Engineering Works for a tour, or an early lunch. From here, you'll enter one of the most iconic sections of the Otago Central Rail Trail, featuring historic tunnels and viaducts through the Ida Valley and Poolburn Gorge. Stay the night in Lauder or Omakau.

Meals:  B

The last section of the trail takes you through to the historic settlement of Clyde, down Tiger Hill, through Chatto Creek and Alexandra. A 5km loop to Ophir from Omakau is highly recommended, with historic wooden and stone buildings from the gold-mining era and the iconic suspension bridge. Stay the night Clyde.

Meals:  B

Meet at our Clyde depot in the morning for a shuttle through to Cromwell to start the Lake Dunstan Trail. From Cromwell you'll ride past the Cromwell Heritage Precinct before cycling through the Bannockburn wine-country and through the stunning Cromwell Gorge. A stop at the coffee boat along the way is a must (if it's there on the day). Stay the night in Clyde.

Meals:  B

After breakfast you'll set off on the the river trail to Alexandra. From here, the trail makes its way down the Roxburgh Gorge to Doctors Point Boat Ramp. Here you will meet with a local boat operator who will transfer you to Shingle Creek. Relax on board the boat while you take in the stunning scenery and history of the area. At Shingle Creek the trail continues to Lake Roxburgh Village. Take a look at the Roxburgh Dam Lookout with its great photo opportunity. Accommodation this night is in the Lake Roxburgh Village.

Meals:  B

Today’s ride starts from Roxburgh township which is famous for fruit orchards that serve up a splash of colour in every season. Roxburgh is also the home of famous Jimmy’s Pie shop. Clutha Gold trail starts here and follows the sparking Clutha River/Mata-Atu to Millers Flat where you will enjoy lunch at Faigans Store (20km). Towards the end of this section the trail cuts across pastoral farmland to reach Millers Flat. This wee town started life as a stop on the branch railway line to Dunedin which closed in 1968.

Meals:  B

After breakfast, set off on the trail that follows the river through the Beaumont Gorge before leaving the Clutha River/Mata Au and heading inland through rolling farmland. Parts of this route follow an old rail bed through Tunnel Hill and onto your final destination of the historic gold-mining town of Lawrence, where gold was first discovered in New Zealand and an interesting town to explore. There will be time for lunch before your mid-afternoon transport back to Dunedin (or Clyde).

Meals:  B


  • Standard bike hire for 8 days including helmet, repair kit andodometer (e-bike upgrade available)
  • 7 nights' comfort accommodation on twin share basis (superior upgrade available)
  • Shuttle from Clyde to Cromwell to start the Lake Dunstan Trail
  • Jet boat transfer and history tour
  • 7 x breakfasts
  • Detailed trip itinerary and map
  • Haehaeata, Lake Dunstan, and Roxburgh Gorge/Clutha Gold Trail Trust Donations
  • Daily Luggage transfers (weight limit of 15kg per bag, 1 bag per person)

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

Bike information

Trail Surface


Suggested extensions



The 8 Day Central Otago Full Monty is graded Moderate. The Otago Central Rail Trail and Clutha Gold Trails are both graded introductory The Lake Dunstan and Roxburgh Gorge Trails have 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 more training you have done on compacted gravel ad undulating hills 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

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*
  • Electric Bike UpgradeNZD$640
  • Transport from Dunedin to MiddlemarchNZD$90
  • Transport from Lawrence to DunedinNZD$130
*Prices listed are per person and also from

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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