Cyclists on Otago Central Rail Trail. © Miles Holden

Otago Central Rail Trail: journey into an ever-changing heartland

View the map


The Otago Central Rail Trail is an achievement, an acknowledgement that it’s not just hardy souls and fitness nuts who like to hike the landscape.

And with this trail, it encourages bike riders, in particular, to pack up and pedal its amazing twists and turns. It’s 150km from Middlemarch to Clyde and, as you can imagine, at that length it takes in just about everything that’s stunning about Central Otago.

Big spaces, big-hearted people and wild, wide skies. Derelict and abandoned goldmining villages, random sightings and railway sidings, little towns with lovely pubs! The towns along the trail have really opened themselves up to the concept, and have developed facilities specifically for trail users. Companies have been established to help people using the trail, and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging the economic benefit brought to this remote region. Friendly folk will haul your luggage for you from various spots to various spots, and there’s no shortage of expertise to really make your journey come alive.

Yep, there are off-trail adventures aplenty, but those on the track will keep you more than occupied. There’s no traffic, so you can quietly negotiate the tunnels (bring a torch, and not just the one on your phone) and several amazing viaducts to cycle or stroll over.

The skies are limitless, the scenery staggering. And there are heaps of places to stop and stay so you yourself won’t be staggering at all. Fighting fit, in fact.

Finally, you’ll park up at Clyde, pretty as a picture, on the mighty Clutha River. As the Famous Five might have said after such an epic journey, ‘Well done, everyone.’ And you may be compelled to pipe up: ‘Especially Timmy!’

If you really want to be of the landscape, follow the rail trail.

Explore more...

Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more


Central Otago: good curling to ye

No one really knows where the peculiar sport of curling originated, but there’s no doubt it was the Scots who took it to heart. Read the story . . . 

Find out more


Otago Rail Experience

Take a spectacular day-trip by train up the Taieri Gorge, or use the Taieri Gorge Railway to transport you to the start of the Central Otago Rail Trail. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Natural attractions

The wondrous wildlife of Otago Peninsula

‘The most accessible wildlife in the South Island’ is the catch-cry here. Well, there are wheeling seabirds, honking sea lions and all manner of other natural noises, but you get the point. Read the story . . . 

Where to stay in Central Otago District

AL Park View Motel

Alexandra is the gateway to Central Otago and only a short distance from everything this region has to offer. It is well known for it’s . . . More . . . 

4.7 /5
From $110
4.7 /5
Naseby Holiday Cottages

Enjoy staying at one of our houses and enjoy your own little piece of paradise that is Naseby Naseby Holiday Cottages offer a variety of . . . More . . . 

From $110
Alexandra Holiday Park

Riverside location. All types of accommodation from campsites to self contained, suits all pockets! Close to Rail Trail, aquatic centre, golf course, fishing, mountain bike/walking . . . More . . . 

Wedderburn Cottages

High quality accommodation for all budgets, situated on SH 85 at Wedderburn, being 16 km from Ranfurly and Naseby. If you are doing the Otago . . . More . . .