|Oturehua – Wedderburn 12km
Wedderburn – Ranfurly 13.5km
Car parking: Oturehua, Wedderburn, Ranfurly Station sites.
Information Panels: General and Historic interpretation – Oturehua, Ranfurly Station sites, Seagull Hill Gangers’ Shed, Maniototo Plains Gangers’ Shed, topographical (near Raggedy Hut)
Information kiosk, north of Wedderburn Station site
Maniototo Visitor Information Centre, Ranfurly. Phone 03 444 1005
On this section, the Otago Central Rail Trail reaches its highest point and crosses the 45 Degrees South Latitude twice – milestones that have clear markers.
Just outside of town the trail crosses the line of 45 Degrees South Latitude. A little further on it crosses Reefs Road, which leads to the Golden Progress Mine where the wooden poppet head, used for bringing gold-bearing ore to the surface, still straddles a deep shaft.
There are splendid views of the Hawkdun and Ida Ranges as the trail gently ascends to its high point at 618 metres above sea level, just before Wedderburn. About 200 metres before that point, the trail again, crosses the 45 Degrees South Latitude.
The Wedderburn station site has the original station building and big green goods shed. The shed has gained iconic status since featuring in a painting by Central Otago artist Grahame Sydney. It is also a good spot to shelter in.
A side trip to St Bathans with its historic buildings, eerie landscape and manmade blue lake is possible from either Wedderburn or Oturehua.
The trail descends across the Maniototo Plains to Ranfurly, Maniototo’s commercial centre and once a bustling railway town. Much of the town was rebuilt following a spate of fires in the 1930s and it is now famous for its art deco architecture.
A side trip to Naseby and/or Dansey’s Pass is a good choice from either Ranfurly or Wedderburn. Naseby is home to New Zealand’s only international year-round curling rink.