Otago Central Rail Trail
The Otago Central Rail Trail (or Otago Rail Trail as it's sometimes referred to) is located as its name suggests in Central Otago, a region famous for its gold mining history, in New Zealand's South Island. This increasingly popular trail is both a cycle way and walking trail and is 150 kilometres long. It is a year-round cycling and walking route and is free to use, although donations can be made to the managing trust.
The cycle trail follows an old railway line and as it has no steep hills, it is suitable for cyclists or walkers of most ages and with a reasonable degree of fitness. It is recommended that cyclists allow for at least four days to travel its full length (approximately four hours of cycling a day) and walkers up to six days.
The cycling and walking trail runs between Middlemarch and Clyde and the trail can be undertaken from either direction. View suggested cycling itineraries.
Rail Trail Accommodation
Accommodation along the rail trail is plentiful and ranges from backpacker to high-end luxury accommodations. You should book well in advance, even during the quieter months (April to October). Accommodation in off-trail places (such as Macraes, Naseby, Moa Creek) will pick you up and return to the trail and most accommodation providers are willing to transport people, bikes and gear.
View your Otago accommodation options.
Bikes can be hired from any destination along the Rail Trail (Clyde, Alexandra, Middlemarch, etc). The quality of rental cycles and bikes is generally high and bikes are well-maintained and serviced.
View your Rail Trail bike hire options.
What You Need
- All weather clothing – The weather is generally warm and sunny, but you should pack for cold, wet and windy weather.
- Drinking water – Water is scarce on the Rail Trail and you will need up to 2.5 litres per day. Bottled water is available at businesses and communities along the way.
- Toilet paper – Carry toilet paper and only use trailside toilets, unless using a local business.
- Rail Trail conduct – Wear a cycling helmet, sunscreen and abide by the Rail Trail code of conduct.
Guided and Group Cycling Tours
Find out more about guided or group cycling tours:
All cycling tours and rental bikes can be viewed and booked online.