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Otago Central Rail Trail

The Otago Central Rail Trail will take you on a recreational passage of discovery, revealing truly breathtaking treasures not readily accessible by any other means and unlike any other in New Zealand.

This is a journey into the region’s heartland of ever-changing mountainous, dry, rocky landscapes, productive farmland, spectacular river gorges, tunnels, viaducts, thriving townships, old stone and mud-brick dwellings and preserved gold mining settlements – shaped and seasoned by the harsh, continental climatic extremes unique to Central Otago.

Modelled on Rails to Trails projects overseas, the Rail Trail extends 150 kilometres along the former railway route between Middlemarch and Clyde. Its wide gravel (stony) path has a gentle 1 to 50 gradient, making it ideal for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

It offers something for everyone. Mountain bike enthusiasts will find scope to test their fitness and endurance and relish the off-trail opportunities to explore the back country and alpine areas. Recreational cyclists and walkers will achieve their goals with a reasonable level of fitness and without negotiating any steep hills.

Along the way there are many opportunities to meet the pioneer-spirited locals and to take detours and side trips to unique places – dams, gold mining relics, the country’s only international curling rink to try your hand at the ancient ice sport, and so much more.

Travelling the Central Otago Rail Trail also offers you the chance to immerse yourself in the history and romance of the railway and the gold rush. Whatever your interest, the Central Otago Rail Trail will give you the solitude to reflect, amid the transforming light of expansive skies and vast landscapes.

Ride it, walk it, experience it!
About the Rail Trail Otago Central Rail Trail Map Package Operators of the Otago Central Rail Trail
About the Rail Trail

The Otago Central Rail Trail is the result of the local communities’ collective vision and dedication. The Otago Central Rail Trail Trust and Department of Conservation continue to play key roles in New Zealand’s first Rail Trail between Clyde and Middlemarch.  

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Rail Trail Map

The Otago Central Rail Trail can be travelled in either direction and access is available at various locations. Use this map to orientate yourself. Clyde, Alexandra, Chatto Creek, Lauder, Oturehua, Wedderburn, Ranfurly, Waipiata, Kokonga, Hyde and Middlemarch are just some of the towns adjacent or near to the trail.

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Package Operators

For travellers who enjoy having some or all of their Otago Central Rail Trail experience organised for them, a Package Operator is the answer.
Most offer a range of packages from all-inclusive, fully guided 5-day tours to excursions and booking services for sightseers, walkers and cyclists.

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Bike Hire on the Otago Central Rail Trail Transport on the Rail Trail Planning your Otago Central Rail Trail trip
Bike hire

Hiring bikes for the Rail Trail is a good option. There is a choice of companies to hire from and between them they cover all possible options for mountain bikers and recreational cyclists. Bikes range from children’s through to adult bikes. Children’s seats, baby seats and trailers are available.

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There are a variety of scheduled bus and shuttle services that cover travel from/to the Otago Central Rail Trail. There is also a door to door shuttle service that transports people and/or luggage and/or bikes by road, to any points along the Rail Trail.

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Planning your trip

A little planning will go a long way to ensuring you have an enjoyable and comfortable trip on the Otago Central Rail Trail. Here is all the information about sections of the trail, plus tips and tools for an unforgettable Rail Trail experience. 

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Rail Trail Long term plan

View the Otago Central Rail Trail Plan for the future 2012 - 2022  here

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