New Zealand’s Original Great Ride. Follow the route of the former Otago Central branch railway line for 152km from Clyde to Middlemarch through heartland Central Otago. With no steep hills, most people complete their ride over 4- 5 days.
New Zealands’s first Rail Trail and Original Great Ride opened in 2000, the 152km long trail follows the former route of the Otago Central Railway. The former railway line was ideal for New Zealand’s first off-road cycle-way.
In 1993 the Department of Conservation (DOC) bought the corridor for a recreational reserve. The Otago Central Rail Trail Trust was formed in 1994 to partner the Department, helping raise funds to initially open the Trail. This included the removal of ballast, decking the bridges, improving the culverts and adding handrails. The Rail Trail officially opened fully in 2000 and the teamwork between the Trust and DOC has continued. DOC undertakes the maintenance, while the Trust upgrades the Trail facilities, such as toilets, information boards and shelters, as well as the funding of trail resurfacing. The success of this innovative project inspired the government in 2010 to set up the New Zealand Cycle Trails, and support the development of similar trails around the country.
We recommend you arrive in Clyde (Population 1000) the morning or afternoon before your ride. Relax, unwind and explore this delightful historic town. The small but eclectic retail precinct has Art Galleries, Home-wares stores, specialist food-stores and an artisan ice cream shop. The range of restaurants is second to none with at least 5 choices of places to eat; from casual fine dining to an outstanding local takeaway. Visit the Clyde Museum and Herb Factory, enjoy one of the short walks or visit local artists. We fit your bikes on arrival so they are ready for you the next morning. Alternatively add an extra day’s hire to explore the local vineyards on your bike. Stay the night, so you are rearing to go the next morning after breakfast.
Day 1: Cycle Clyde to Omakau or cycle to and stay off-trail at Ophir
Day 2: Cycle to Oturehua
Day 3: Cycle to Ranfurly, Waipata or stay off trail at Naseby
Day 4: Cycle to Hyde
Day 5: Cycle to Middlemarch
Click here to see our 5 day self-guided tour package
Day 1: Cycle Clyde to Omakau, Ophir or Lauder
Day 2: Cycle to Wedderburn, Ranfurly or stay off trail at Naseby
Day 3: Cycle to Kokonga or Hyde
Day 4: Cycle to Middlemarch
Click here to see our 4 day self-guided tour package
Day 1: Cycle Clyde to Lauder
Day 2: Cycle to Waipiata
Day 3: Cycle to Middlemarch
Click here to see our 3 day self-guided tour package
Day 1: Cycle Wedderburn to Lauder
Day 2: Cycle Lauder to Clyde
Click here to see our 2 day self-guided tour package
5 days Fully Supported Tour option
Day 1: Queenstown to Alexandra
Day 2: Alexandra to Omakau
Day 3: Omakau to Oturehua
Day 4: Oturehua to Kokonga
Day 5: Kokonga to Middlemarch
Click here to see our Fully Supported Tour option
click here for downloadable map