About Otago Central Rail Trail Bike Tour
Cycle the Otago Central Rail Trail on this day trip from Queenstown or Wanaka. Soak up the stunning landscapes as you cycle through lush farmland and spectacular gorges, across wooden bridges, over viaducts and through tunnels along a 21.7-mile (35-kilometer) section of the trail. Suited to all ages and abilities, it is a gentle ride and one of the safest and most scenic of New Zealand's rail trails.
These former railway lines that run through New Zealand's South Island were built at the turn of the 20th century during the gold rush period. The railways provided an important link from Dunedin to the gold fields of Central Otago. The now-empty rail corridor offers a superb cycling experience.
Your day starts with pickup from your hotel in Queenstown or Wanaka, from where you’ll travel by minivan to the heart of Central Otago. You’ll be fitted with a helmet and bike with a comfortable padded seat. Start cycling at Auripo Road, with a gentle downhill stretch for approximately two hours. Cycle at your own pace and take in the magnificent scenery.
This is a fascinating and stunning section of the Otago Central Rail Trail. It took more than 300 workers three years to build the two tunnels and two bridges necessary to get the railway through the rugged terrain. Here, you might also glimpse the rare Karearea, New Zealand’s native falcon.
Stop for a full gourmet lunch (included) in Omakau, one of the farming towns that flourished when the railway opened in the early 1900s. Magnificent stone stables still stand alongside the local hotel that was originally built in 1898 as a farmhouse. Well-preserved, almost stately town buildings remain, and on the hill north of town is the grand Omakau Catholic Church.
The cycling trip is self-guided. A support vehicle will meet you at many points along the trail for assistance and to share local knowledge about the region and the history of the many towns you pass along the way.