Otago Rail Trail Classic
Featured as the #2 'Must Do Adventure' by Lonely Planet in their New Zealand guide book, this cycling adventure will have you travelling back through time exploring New Zealand's rich rural past. The gently graded 150km trail, which follows the old Central Otago branch railway line from Clyde to Middlemarch, has been specifically converted for walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders - with no motor vehicles allowed! Cutting through largely inaccessible regions of the spectacular Central Otago highlands, the Otago Rail Trail follows a gentle gradient allowing cyclists of all abilities an opportunity to experience classic New Zealand mountain landscapes, abandoned gold diggings and small towns that all combine to make the Otago region so unique. Along the way there is even the option to try your hand at the ancient art of curling (bowls on ice). This popular cycling tour culminates with a journey on one of the world's great train trips - the spectacular Taieri Gorge Railway into Dunedin. This guided tour of the Otago Rail Trail is fully supported, leaving you with no concerns about accommodation, luggage or expert insights along the trail.
|DAY 1||Join Christchurch, drive to Tekapo, cycle lakeside, drive to Clyde|
|DAY 2||Cycle Rail Trail to Alexandra, Omakau and Lauder|
|DAY 3||Cycle through tunnels and viaducts to Ranfurly|
|DAY 4||Cycle through tunnels and viaducts out to Middlemarch, Taieri Gorge Train to Dunedin|
|DAY 5||Drive to Kakanui coast and cycle into historic warehouse area of Oamaru, drive back to Christchurch where trip concludes|
I'd been looking for a cycling holiday in the South Island and was impressed by the level of organisation offered by Adventure South. I'd never gone on holiday on my own before, so paid the single supplement as I didn't fancy sharing a room with a stranger! It was also a bit nerve-wracking pitching up on the first day. However, as it transpires, the group I went with was both diverse and extremely pleasant; a mix of single people, couples and even a father & son.
The actual logistics of the trip are superbly organised, and I must mention Pip our guide, who was absolutely amazing and successfully fielded around a million questions over the course of the week. Accommodation is fantastic, a mix of modern and traditional and just quirky, and after a day in the saddle, you're ready to put away some calories. Sleep is never hard to come by either. The mileage was just right for me, around 40-60km each day, though I consider myself pretty fit and it might be challenging for someone not used to exercise. Having said that you can go at your own pace, whether that's gently pedalling along or treating it like the Tour de France as I did for some strange reason. Lots of amazing scenery, as you'd expect. and the sun was out so it was factor 50 all the way. Occasionally the trail becomes long and straight, which can be slightly monotonous. I'd recommend an iPod for such stretches, but it's a minor gripe on what was a brilliant trip in every respect. Hats off to the company and especially Pip, our amazing guide.