The History of the Trail

The railway that started it all

In 1877 a railway line was proposed for the route between Dunedin and Clyde, connecting the country's largest city at the time with the Central Otago goldfields. 

Construction began near Dunedin in 1879 and took 16 years to reach Middlemarch. The famous 150km route from Middlemarch to Clyde was completed in 1907. The magnificent viaducts, bridges and tunnels are a testament to the stonemasons, engineers and labourers who built the line. 

The railway was used as both a passenger and supply line, but as the gold rush dried up, its use dropped off except for freight trips. 

Throughout the 1980s the line played a key role in transporting materials for the construction of the Clyde Dam. Once the dam was completed in 1990, the railway was closed up. 


A new trail experience

In 2000, the former rail route between Middlemarch and Clyde was brought back to life, this time as a cycle trail. 

Since then, the trails have been improved and expanded to several locations in Central Otago and attract thousands of keen riders each year. 

"We will use this company again when we do another bike ride, fabulous service and lovely bikes to ride, thank you."
April 2021
"They organised everything including bikes, accommodation, side trips , restaurants, and transfers from start and finish. We were very happy with everything - the accommodation and restaurants were excellent."
April 2021
"It was perfect. From the bikes, to the accommodation to the meals, everything was great. We can not recommend this company more highly, as everything , as I said, was perfect."
March 2021
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Rail Trail experience