The ‘Central Otago Trail’ features a collection of cycle trails alongside the rivers and lakes of the stunning Central Otago district including Arrowtown, Cromwell, Wanaka, Clyde and Roxburgh. Incredible scenery and excellent cycle trails.
This tour is a visual feast with mountains and pristine lakes everywhere you look, fantastic Autumn colours (during April), fun and challenging cycle trails, as well as great local food and wine.
The Central Otago Trail cycling is all on purpose built cycle trails. Days 4 & 5 are on the stunning Dunstan Cycle Trail (due to open in Spring 2020) and the Roxburgh Gorge Cycle Trail, which, due to the nature of being narrow gorges, features some well benched zig-zag climbs/descents. The riding is rated Grade 2.
Our support vehicle is available throughout the tour. Refer to our Level of Difficulty gradings for more information.
Central Otago Trail Tour Highlights
- Cycle 192km of purpose built cycle trails around Central Otago’s stunning lakes & rivers
- Ride the Gibbston River Trail; Lake Hawea Trail; Lake Dunstan Cycle Trail (due to open Spring 2020); Roxburgh Gorge & Clutha Gold Trails
- Indulge in fresh Central Otago produce and local wines
- Explore the local arts, crafts, and cottage industries in Arrowtown, Cromwell & Clyde
- Experience the colours of the seasons
- Enjoy an exhilarating and informative jet boat ride in the Roxburgh Gorge
- Dial out and enjoy a week away in this stunning part of NZ
Day 1 Christchurch/Queenstown – Arrowtown
Our Central Otago Trail tour gets underway as we head south across the plains and through the Mackenzie Basin. The scenic drive continues as we head over the Lindis Pass and into Central Otago. We continue through the Kawarau Gorge to our accommodation, a stone’s throw from the quaint village of Arrowtown. In the afternoon enjoy a walk around the village and historic Chinese gold mining village relics. Alternatively there is the option to join the tour in Arrowtown from Queenstown. In the evening get acquainted with your companions over a meal at the local pub.
Cycle Distance: 0km
Day 2 Arrowtown – Cromwell
Lake Hayes Trail | Gibbston River Trail
We travel a short distance to Lake Hayes where your guide will fit you out with your bike. From here our first cycle commences, an 8km circumnavigation of the lake, surrounded by the stunning peaks of the Remarkables, Ben Lomond and Coronet Peak. Take in the views over morning tea, before continuing on the 6km ride to Arrowtown through the rambling Millbrook Golf Resort. Here we join the Gibbston River Trail which follows the Arrow River. Cross over two very impressive suspension bridges and over the historic Kawarau Bridge to the AJ Hackett bungy centre. A short distance on is our lunch stop at cellar door (14km). After a leisurely lunch we continue riding further into the Gibbston Valley to the end of the trail (8km). From here we transfer through the scenic gorge to the town of Cromwell and our accommodation for the next two nights.
Cycle Distance: 36km
Day 3 Cromwell
Hawea River Trail | Lake Dunstan Cycle Trail
Today we travel to Lake Hawea. Enjoy morning tea with another view of the mountains before our cycle for the day, alongside Lake Hawea and then following the Hawea River terraces (17km) to Albert Town. Here we cross the river and follow the Lake Wanaka outlet around Point Eely and into the township of Wanaka (18km), stopping for a picnic lunch at one of the beachside reserves beside the lake. This is the best of Central Otago with the raw brown plains coupled with sparkling cool blue waters and a backdrop of snowcapped mountains. Take some time to explore the Wanaka township before we travel a short distance to Pisa Moorings. Here we start riding the new Dunstan Cycle Trail, cycling south alongside Lake Dunstan to Cromwell (13km). In the late afternoon there is the opportunity to visit a local winery for a wine tasting.
Cycle Distance: 48km
Day 4 Cromwell – Clyde
Lake Dunstan Cycle Trail
Today we continue riding the new Dunstan Cycle Trail (due to open in Nov-Dec 2020). From Cromwell the trail passes through the historic precinct of Cromwell, before following the Kawarau River to Bannockburn and around through the vineyards and olive groves to Cornish Point. From here the trail enters the Cromwell Gorge, through a bare landscape of spectacular schist rock, above the deep blue waters of Lake Dunstan. Head past the Clyde Dam and power station to Clyde (42km). Here we enjoy lunch in the historic precinct of Clyde. Check into our accommodation for the next two nights. In the afternoon explore the galleries and boutiques in the delightful village of Clyde, or have a walk around the historic precinct to appreciate the gold mining history of the township. Later in the afternoon we enjoy a tasting of local Clyde/Alexandra wines and cheese platter.
Cycle Distance: 42km
Day 5 Clyde
Roxburgh Gorge Trail | Clutha Gold Trail
This morning we travel a short distance to where the Roxburgh Gorge Cycle Trail begins. The trail through the Roxburgh Gorge is just stunning and will take your breath away. A 10km cycle is followed by a scenic jet boat transfer from Doctors Point to Shingle Creek, followed by another 13km cycle to the Roxburgh Dam. Here we enjoy lunch before continuing on the Clutha Gold cycle trail to Millers Flat (30km). This section features orchards as well as gold mining relics which makes for a very pleasant ride. At Millers Flat we load up our bikes, enjoy a cold drink at the local store, then travel back to our accommodation in Clyde. Enjoy a celebratory meal together.
Cycle Distance: 53km
Day 6 Clyde – Christchurch/Queenstown
Alexandra River Trail
This morning we finish the final piece of the Central Otago Trail puzzle, a lovely cycle is a 13km ride beneath the willow trees following the Clutha River from Clyde to Alexandra. Enjoy a final morning tea beside the mighty Clutha River. This is the end of the tour and from here you have the option of getting a shuttle bus back to Queenstown (arriving 2pm approx), or travelling in the PureTrails bus to Christchurch (arriving 5:30pm approx). Or you may wish to stay on in Central Otago and ride the 150km Otago Central Rail Trail.
Cycle Distance: 14km
7 Dec 2020
15 Feb 2021
19 Apr 2021
What’s included in the tour package?
- 5 nights twinshare ensuite accommodation
- 5 evening meals; 4 lunches; 5 continental breakfasts (indicated by B/L/D in the itinerary)
- fruit, snacks & morning teas on the trail
- the services of a tour leader who provides vehicle support & information
- cycle repair support
- Jet boat ride in Roxburgh Gorge
- Clyde wine tasting and platter
- all transport from/to Christchurch
- Goods & Services Tax of 15%
Not included in the tour package:
Our Guiding Team
Tour Leader (since 2018)
John has had a long career in the NZ Police, with time spent in the Search & Rescue & Alpine Cliff Rescue teams. During this period John spent a lot of time rock climbing and caving all over the South Island, leading to an enduring love of the NZ outdoors.
Outside of work John enjoys getting out in the hills hiking and cycling as well as swimming. John played rugby and water polo and still enjoys following these sports. He looks forward to meeting lots of people and sharing his love of the outdoors with PureTrails.
Tour Leader (since 2017)
Kevin has recently retired to Ohoka, Christchurch, after working 35 years as an IT manager in the Education and Local Government sectors. Both Kevin and wife Karen are passionate about the outdoors and have participated in most North and South Island cycling events. Kevin is a keen sportsperson, a doting grandfather (aka Pop) and has recently rekindled his love for acrylic landscape painting. Kevin joins the team after having completed two PureTrails tours with friends (as a customer!) and looks forward to introducing visitors to spectacular South Island vistas and rewarding cycling adventures.