Central Otago's Famous Trails

Otago Central Rail Trail

The Otago Central Rail Trail is the adventure of a lifetime, open to all levels. Those who complete this ride are rewarded with magnificent landscapes and pitstops in quaint towns unlike anywhere else in New Zealand!

The original 'Great Ride'

The Rail Trail follows the former railway line between Middlemarch and Clyde for 152km.

It is known as New Zealand’s original “Great Ride" and offers something around every bend. Explore what remains from the gold rush era, marvel at the stunning landscapes and the local cuisine, or take your time admiring the historic railway viaducts and tunnels that make up this breathtaking route.

The Otago Central Rail Trail is best enjoyed over four or five days to ensure you get the full experience. 

Length: 152km
Difficulty: Easy to Medium


  • Stop off at the Hayes Engineering Workshop to see what 'Kiwi ingenuity' looks like.
    See the famous Art Deco buildings in Ranfurly.
  • Ride through the picturesque Taieri Gorge and follow the Taieri River as it meanders south.

  • Grab a well-deserved beverage of choice and a meal at a quaint country pub in one of the trailside towns. 

  • Snap a pic of the Wedderburn, the iconic shed from the Grahame Sydney painting.

  • See the 'big sky' landscapes that have put this region on the map. 

  • Ride over historic railway viaducts and through tunnels.

  • Explore what remains of the famous gold rush.  

Lake Dunstan

The Lake Dunstan Trail is one of the region's newer trails, yet it has all the charm of an old fashioned adventure.

Enjoy the history & the wine

From Pisa Moorings, you will ride alongside Lake Dunstan into Old Cromwell Town before heading through Bannockburn and into Clyde.

This 54km ride features historic architecture in the Cromwell Heritage Precinct and also winds past the vineyards of some of New Zealand’s best winemakers. 

Finally, the trail heads through the Cromwell Gorge where you will ride over sections built around into the rock faces above the lake. There’s something for everyone here. 

Length: 54km
Difficulty: Easy


  • Step back in time at the Cromwell Heritage Precinct, with boutique galleries, retail stores, restaurants and cafes.

  • Visit a vineyard in the Cromwell Basin and Bannockburn to sample the local wines with lunch. 

  • Ride through Cromwell Gorge on trails built out around sheer rock.

  • Ride by New Zealand's third-largest hydro-dam, the Clyde Dam.

Clutha Gold

Enjoy cycling through lush landscapes on this beginner-friendly trail that can be done in either direction past small country towns dotted along the way.

Pure gold

The Clutha Gold Trail is a 73km-long stretch of gorgeous scenery between Lake Roxburgh Dam and Lawrence.

Scenic mountain ranges serve as a dramatic backdrop for this multi-day bike adventure over historic paths. 

If you're feeling up for it, there are also links to other trails so you can cycle your way across more of Central Otago’s stunning landscapes!

Length: 73km
Difficulty: Easy


  • Ride alongside the stunning blue Clutha Mata-au river.
  • Take a short detour to Horseshoe Bend Bridge, a pedestrian suspension bridge built in 1913.
  • Head through the 440m-long Big Hill Tunnel (bring your torch).
  • Pick up some fresh fruit in Roxburgh, a town known for its fruit orchards.

Roxburgh Gorge

Get the best of both worlds with a cycling adventure and exhilarating jet boat ride all in one.

Land and water

This 34km trail will take you from the Lake Roxburgh Dam through to Clyde, with a quick jet boat ride in the middle on the Clutha Mata-Au River.

This short respite from pedalling gives you the opportunity to see a different side of the area and gives you views of some hard-to-find landmarks, including the old gold miners’ huts.

Once you’re back on land and in the saddle, the trail takes you through to Alexandra and Clyde where you can sample the local produce from the orchards and vineyards.

Length: 34km (1 day)
Difficulty: Easy


  • Set off from the Roxburgh Dam Lookout with stunning views across the lake.
  • Head out on a 30-minute jet boat ride to continue on the trail.
  • Marvel at the natural colours on display; the blue water, grey schist, purple thyme, and willows and poplars - green or gold depending on the season.

  • Stop off in Alexandra and sample the local produce from its renowned orchards and vineyards.

"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