The popular Lake Dunstan trail lives up to expectations
Soak up the exceptional views on a bike tour of NZ
Enjoy a tour that encompasses some of the best biking in the region
Bike tour NZ's legendary rail trail
Explore a superb part of the South Island by bike

Lake Dunstan and Otago Central Rail Trail

5 days
Site savings
$1,570 USD

Ride through an array of spectacular southern landscapes on a 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 alongside the shimmering waters of Lake Dunstan before you have the option to ride through the dramatic Cromwell Gorge on the new Lake Dunstan Trail.

  • Category
    Trail Riding
  • Type
    Fully Guided
  • Duration
    5 days
  • Culture Level
  • Skill Level
    1 - Beginner
  • Activity Level
    2 - Moderate
  • Elevation
    3 - Intermediate
  • Terrain
  • Distance
    118.1 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    23.6 miles
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Quick Stats

  • Duration
    5 days
  • Main Destination
    South Island
  • Distance
    118.1 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    23.6 miles
  • Elevation
    3 - Intermediate
  • Terrain

Itinerary Details

  1. Day 1Cromwell to Clyde: Lake Dunstan Trail

    You’ll meet in downtown Queenstown at 8:00am and drive through the picturesque Kawarau Gorge to Cromwell. After you unload the bikes at Smith’s Way and start the journey with an easy ride following the glistening shores of Lake Dunstan. You'll 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 you 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. This is the perfect stop for lunch and a wine tasting at a nearby boutique vineyard.

    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 optional drive to Clyde and ride all or part of the easier river trail to Alexandra or explore the small historic town.

    You will all meet again in Clyde, settle into your comfortable accommodation and enjoy your first group dinner in the early evening.

    • 26.1 - 34.2 miles
    • Dunstan House, Clyde
    • Lunch and Dinner
  2. Day 2Clyde to Lauder

    Leaving Clyde via the historic railway line, you’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 your lunch stop, Omakau. You’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 the region.

    Back on the bikes, it’s another 9km of easy riding to reach Lauder. Late afternoon you’ll drive to St Bathans for a walk around the surreal Blue Lake formed during the 1800s gold days. Enjoy a game of pool or banter at the Lauder pub before tucking into a well-earned dinner.

    • 27.3 miles
    • Lauder School B&B
    • Breakfast and Dinner
  3. Day 3Lauder to Ranfurly

    Today’s ride features the trip’s first tunnels and bridges as you trace the pretty Poolburn Gorge and head into the Idaburn Valley. You’ll stop at Hayes Engineering Works, a delightfully rustic heritage site, 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, you’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 you return to Ranfurly for dinner.

    • 29.2 miles
    • Local Accommodation
    • Breakfast and Dinner
  4. Day 4Ranfurly to Dunedin

    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, you’ll board the support vehicle for the drive to Dunedin where you‘ll celebrate the trip with a final group dinner.

    • 36.7 miles
    • Accommodation in Dunedin
    • Breakfast and Dinner
  5. Day 5Dunedin to Christchurch

    After breakfast, you'll head off to ride alongside the Otago harbor to Portobello. This ride takes you down the harbor, surrounded by volcanic hills on both sides, and home to nesting albatross, penguins, and seals, as well as the site of historic shipwrecks. You’ll get a closer look as you 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 the tour, you’ll hear about the history of the area, see the boats, make a detour to see harbor birds and Larnach Castle from a distance.

    From Port Chalmers, you’ll drive north stopping to admire the Moeraki Boulders and for a wander around the Victorian Precinct and portside park in Oamaru. After lunch, you'll continue driving northwards across the Canterbury Plains, and on to Christchurch for a central city drop-off around 6pm. 

    • 9.3 - 12.4 miles
    • Breakfast