Ride the iconic Otago Rail Trail on the South Island of NZ
At the end of the tour, journey to Dunedin on this spectacular journey
Discover the historic rail trail by bike
Enjoy making new friends or perhaps touring with old ones
Journey along a wonderful rail trail and experience exceptional rural sights

Otago Rail Trail Classic

Duration
5 days
Site savings
$17
From
$1,641 USD

Cycle the dedicated cycle trails of NZ's original great ride with a 5 day bicycle tour on the Otago Rail Trail. Experience the full breadth and depth of New Zealand’s iconic rail trail on this fully guided and supported trip. You’ll enjoy easy riding on this trail created especially for cyclists, walkers and horses. Go deep into history through tunnels, over bridges, along railways & riverside paths. Savor delicious local wine & food, and stay in great accommodation. Journey back in time on the Taieri Gorge Railway and experience the local 'southern hospitality' of Central Otago.

  • Category
    Solo
  • Type
    Fully Guided
  • Duration
    5 days
  • Culture Level
    Familiar
  • Skill Level
    2 - Novice
  • Activity Level
    2 - Moderate
  • Elevation
    2 - Moderate
  • Terrain
    Mixed
  • Distance
    131.7 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    26.1 miles
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Quick Stats

  • Duration
    5 days
  • Main Destination
    South Island
  • Distance
    131.7 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    26.1 miles
  • Elevation
    2 - Moderate
  • Terrain
    Mixed

Route Map (click to view larger image)

Itinerary Details

  1. Day 1Christchurch to Clyde

    Your adventure begins with the drive across the picturesque Canterbury Plains. After pausing for refreshments at the sweet country town of Geraldine, you'll continue through rolling farmland to reach Fairlie where you’ll stop for lunch.

    The scenic journey over Burke’s Pass is a fitting introduction to the famous Mackenzie Country, where Lake Tekapo soon appears as a bright, blue jewel. Hopping on your bike, you’ll warm up with an easy ride along peaceful hydro-canals lined with epic panoramas of the Southern Alps.

    Driving over the stunning Lindis Pass to reach Central Otago, you’ll arrive in Clyde. Enjoy a relaxing stroll around the old town or get back on the bike for a short ride along the mighty Clutha–Mata-au River before you meet up for the first group dinner.

    • 13.7 miles
    • Accommodation in Clyde
    • 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 the 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 (6mi) 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
    • Accommodation in Lauder
    • 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
    • Accommodation in Ranfurly
    • 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 (16.7mi) takes in the poignant 1943 Hyde rail disaster memorial, then wends across rolling plains towards the trail’s end at Middlemarch. After a well-earned café break, you’ll board the heritage Taieri Gorge Railway for the spectacular journey through 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, it’s a fond farewell to fellow riders leaving the group in Dunedin. For the rest, it’s off to Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street. After a short but sharp walk up and down again, you’ll continue driving north to admire the Moeraki Boulders.

    Further north, you’ll get back in the saddle for a final ride along the coast, through rural countryside to reach Oamaru. There, wander around the portside park and historic Victorian Precinct to enjoy boutique shopping, dining, and photo ops galore. After lunch, you will continue driving northwards across the Canterbury Plains, and on to Christchurch for a central city drop-off around 6pm.

    • 14.9 - 24.9 miles
    • Breakfast