Over 15 years Experience

Totally professional, brilliant organisation and communication, logistics taken care of.

Local Expertise

We take you to gems off the beaten track and we know all the best coffee stops.

Family operated

Our team are empathetic and caring we look after our guests like family.

Small Group Sizes

Come in a group or come alone and make new friends nobody gets left behind.

Quality e-bikes

Modern and well maintained ebikes (and muscle bikes!) vehicles and cycle trailers.

Relax and take in the rural lifestyle of the Maniototo region as you cycle 150km on the Otago Central Rail Trail through beautiful ‘big sky’ country, Central Otago’s ‘timeless land’, on the iconic and original NZ cycle trail.

The Otago Central Rail Trail tour passes through many small communities, some dating back to the 1860s, allowing you to experience a huge amount of history of one of NZ’s special places, and one that will exceed your expectations time and again. Our RELAXED tour features an extra day at Wedderburn to simply slow down and enjoy the rural lifestyle, relaxing and watching the morning light change from your cottage balcony, and seeing a bit more of the Maniototo area. Many of the 4th/5th generation farming families still live locally and enjoy conversing with those cycling the Otago cycle trail. Enjoy exploring the original stone pubs and meet the locals famous for their ‘Southern hospitality’.

The Otago Central Rail Trail rates as among the easiest of all the cycle trails in New Zealand, and is a good trail to start with if you are new to cycling. Being a disused railway corridor originally built for steam trains, the 150km Otago cycle trail’s gradient is a very gentle incline and as such the Otago Central Rail Trail is rated easy to negotiate with no steep hills or obstacles.

Our support vehicle is available at all times throughout the cycle tour. Come prepared for all conditions and prepare to be blown away by the raw but stunningly beautiful Central Otago. Refer to our Level of Difficulty gradings for more information.

Otago Central Rail Trail Tour RELAXED Tour Highlights

  • Cycle the 150km Otago Central Rail Trail through ‘big sky’ country
  • Feel the warmth of the famous ‘southern hospitality’
  • Explore the historic gold mining town of St Bathans
  • Try your hand at the ancient sport of curling in Naseby
  • Visit Clachanburn Gardens, a magnificent Garden of National Significance

Day 1 Christchurch/Queenstown/Dunedin – Clyde

The Otago Central Rail Trail cycle tour gets underway as we depart Christchurch for the scenic drive south through the Mackenzie Country to Central Otago via the inland route that passes by Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki, and finally over the Lindis Pass to Clyde. Alternatively there is the option of meeting the tour in Clyde in the afternoon from Queenstown or Dunedin, which we can organise for you*. Settle into our accommodation in the charming historic precinct of Clyde, and eat out at a local restaurant.
Cycle Distance: 0km
Meals (D)

Day 2 Clyde – Ophir

Begin the Otago Central Rail Trail, cycling from Clyde to Ophir (40km). Highlights of today’s ride include the wooden trestle Muttontown Viaduct, the Old Tucker Hill gold diggings, lunch in the historic Chatto Creek Tavern, views of the Dunstan Mountains and Raggedy Range, spotting brown trout in the Manuherikia River, and staying at the charming historic town of Ophir at Pitches Store**. Snuggle up to the fire at Pitches Store and enjoy a night of great food and a warm atmosphere. In the afternoon we make a side trip in our support vehicle to the historic gold-mining town of St Bathan’s, with a mandatory stop at the Vulcan Hotel!
Cycle Distance: 40km
Meals (B/L/D)

Day 3 Ophir – Wedderburn

Cycle from Ophir to Wedderburn on the Otago bike trail (43km). The highlights of today’s bike ride on the Otago cycle trail include the engineering marvel that is the Poolburn Gorge Viaduct and tunnels, and the vast wide open Ida Valley (made famous by the painter Grahame Sydney), the Idaburn dam (famous for its winter curling), a visit to Hayes Engineering Works** at Oturehua, and the wee town of Wedderburn at the top of the rail trail. We stay in cosy cottages on a working farm with stunning views of the Hawkdun and Kakanui Ranges for the next two nights. Eat out at the Wedderburn Tavern.
Cycle Distance: 43km
Meals (B/L/D)

Day 4 Wedderburn

Have a relaxing start to the day with coffee and breakfast on the veranda of your cottage. Watch the morning light colour the sounding tussock and hills. Today is a rest day off the trail to explore some of the other points of interest in the Maniototo area. We visit Clachanburn Gardens, a Garden of National Significance, and enjoy a guided tour of the garden**. Later in the afternoon we visit Naseby, 2000ft above worry level, where you can try your hand at the ancient sport of curling on an indoor purpose built ice facility before returning to Wedderburn.

Cycle Distance: 0km
Meals (B/L/D)

Day 5 Wedderburn – Waipiata

Enjoy a leisurely ride from Wedderburn to Hyde (46km) today on the Otago cycle trail. Highlights of today’s bike ride include crossing the Maniototo Plains, visiting the rural art deco town of Ranfurly, following the Taieri River as it snakes around the Rock and Pillar Range, and crossing the unaltered stone bridge over Cap Burn, the 32m high Price’s Creek Viaduct and 152m long tunnel, to Hyde. We stay the night in Waipiata township at Tussock Lodge & the Waipiata Country Hotel and have a celebratory meal in the famous Waipiata Country Hotel.
Cycle Distance: 46km
Meals (B/L/D)

Day 6 Waipiata – Christchurch/Dunedin/Queenstown

Bike from Hyde to the end of the Otago Central Rail Trail at Middlemarch (27km). The highlights of the final days cycle ride include views of the Rock and Pillar and Taieri Ranges, the Hyde Railway Disaster memorial, and dropping down into the Strath Taieri Plain, an area used in the filming of the Hobbit Trilogies. In the afternoon we make our way back to Christchurch arriving at around 6pm. Alternatively opt to catch a shuttle to Dunedin, Clyde or Queenstown*.
Cycle Distance: 27km
Meals (B)

17 Aug 2022-
22 Aug 2022
13 Dec 2022-
18 Dec 2022
7 Mar 2023-
12 Mar 2023

What’s included in the Otago Central Rail Trail tour package?

  • 5 nights twinshare 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
  • side trips to St Bathans
  • Naseby visit and curling session
  • visit to Clachanburn Gardens**
  • all transport from/to Christchurch
  • Goods & Services Tax of 15%

Not included in the Otago Central Rail Trail tour package:

  • lunch on Days 1/6
  • wine; beer; espresso coffees
  • single accommodation supplement ($400)
  • bike hire ($200) or e-bike hire ($500)
  • optional tour of Hayes Engineering Works ($15)**
  • transfers to Queenstown/Dunedin to Clyde on Day 1 (from $60)*
  • transfers from Middlemarch to Clyde/Dunedin/Queenstown on Day 6 (from $55/$60/$115)* – check available times


Otago Central Rail Trail – Official Partner

PureTrails New Zealand’s is proud to be an Official Partner of the Otago Central Rail Trail. Membership fees contribute to the marketing and promotion of the trail and allows for development of the trail.

Independant customer reviews

We recently completed the Otago Rail Trail with Pure Trails.
Our group has been on a number of supported cycle tours, both here and overseas.
Hilary is to be complimented on her organisation and planning, and the quality of her bikes, the whole trip went like clockwork.
The daily additions to the cycling were especially well suited for our group, and we would recommend Pure Trails to anyone.
Garry and Hilary Hood

Garry Hood | Auckland


Why Travel With Us?

We're kiwi outdoor enthusiasts and we know what makes a great holiday. Our NZ cycle tours are well planned, thoughtfully paced, and full of fun and adventure as well as excellent value. Eat well, sleep well, challenge yourself, discover and explore. Join us today.

Travelling with us

How fit do I need to be?

Check out our Level of Difficulty grading to see which trip is right for you. All of our tours come with full vehicle backup so you are welcome to pick and choose which sections you ride.

More about fitness

Ohau Conservation Trust

PureTrails New Zealand pledges financial support to the The Ohau Conservation Trust to tackle wilding trees, other weeds, and possums at Lake Ohau, Mackenzie Country, with a donation of $10 for every person who joins our cycle tours.

We support conservation