Chatto Creek to Lauder | Otago Central Rail Trail

This section of the Otago Central Rail Trail runs through irrigated farmland of the lower Manuherikia Valley. The Dunstan Mountains rise up 1650 metres in the north-west and the Raggedy Range, which separates the Manuherikia and Ida Valleys, is in the south-east.

A notable feature is the trail’s sweeping ‘S’ bend, which was specifically designed to maintain a gentle gradient not exceeding 1 in 50, to get trains up Tiger Hill. It is the steepest part of the Rail Trail.

The water races scarring the slopes of Tiger Hill provide irrigation to local farmland. Some were originally dug by gold miners to get water to their claims.

At Thomson’s Creek just before the township of Omakau, there is an ideal picnic and rest spot. Omakau was named after a local Maori chief and means ‘place of Makau’.

A quick 2km side trip from Omakau, across the Manuherikia River to the once bustling town of Ophir is a treat. Ophir is a well-preserved village of the gold rush era with mud-brick and stone buildings, many of which are in use today, including the post office. It is a great place to soak up the atmosphere of the past.

Return to Omakau via the 1880 Daniel O’Connell Suspension Bridge (5km round trip). For those staying over in either township, consider visiting the gold mining ghost town of Matakanui.

Lauder has a long farming history. Its nearby rock pit was quarried to provide foundation ballast for the railway.

Key Information & Distances

Chatto Creek to Omakau - 12km
Omakau to Lauder - 7km

Car parking: Chatto Creek, Lauder Station sites; Omakau township

Information Panels: General – Lauder Station site, Historic interpretation – Chatto Creek, Lauder Station sites, Tiger Hill Gangers’ Shed

Planning
Otago Central Rail Trail
Discover New Zealand's Original Great Ride - The Otago Central Rail Trail is a relaxing 4-5 day ride through big sky landscapes and through historic townships. Read More

Roxburgh Gorge Trail
Explore New Zealand's Grand Canyon - The Roxburgh Gorge Trail is a unique one day experience. Described as 'Another World' this 34km trail includes a unique jet boat transfer. Read More

Clutha Gold Trail
A 73km journey of discovery through a tapestry of diverse landscapes from seductively rugged semi-arid dry lands through to lush green contoured farmlands that follow powerful Clutha Mata Au River. Read More

Cycling & Mountain Biking Trails
Central Otago boasts a diversity of cycling and mountain bike trails that beckon the cyclist to experience the freedom and the joy of getting off the beaten track. Read More

Getting to Central Otago
The Central Otago region is located in the middle of the South Island of New Zealand. A scenic a 1hr drive from Queenstown International Airport and accessible via road from Dunedin & Christchurch airports. Read More

Cycle Hire, Bike Rental & Tours
Central Otago has several specialist cycling operators who offer fully escorted tours or individual itineraries. These businesses can hire cycles and organise luggage transfers, accommodation and transport so you can cycle as much or as little as you choose. Read More

Download or request a Cycle Brochure
Download or request a 16-page colour brochure on cycling in Central Otago, featuring some of the region's key trails and inspiring imagery. Read More
Central Otago - Our Regional Identity
Central Otago - Our Regional Identity 'A World of Difference' defines what is uniquely Central Otago as a place and a community. Read More

Central Otago NZ - Through Local Eyes
Central Otago NZ - Through Local Eyes Meet some unique and passionate Central Otago locals and be introduced to their favourite places and activities. Read More

Central Otago Food & Wine
Central Otago Food & Wine Central Otago is a place of sheer indulgence – whether it’s fine dining, a casual al-fresco lunch or café culture. You will be spoilt for choice when enjoying local fare and award winning wines at the great selection of cafés, restaurants, cellar doors and country pubs. Read More
site maplegal information | login
evoSuite Tourism Marketing Software | Web Design by ReserveGroup