Experience five superb days on the former Otago Central Branch railway line from Clyde to Middlemarch. The trail surface is similar to a good unpaved road. For a truly authentic experience, you will finish the trip with the Taieri Gorge Railway tourist train to Dunedin. The rail originally provided a vital link between Dunedin, in 1889 New Zealand’s largest city, and the major goldfields of Central Otago. After 83 years this stretch of line was closed. The Department of Conservation acquired the disused railway in 1993 and spent six years preparing and upgrading the route for use as a walking and cycling trail. Highlights of biking the Rail Trail include the tunnels at Price’s Creek and Poolburn Gorge, viaducts and wooden trestle bridges – and of course, the absence of motor traffic. The popularity of the Otago Rail Trail has breathed new life into many of the small towns of the Maniatoto and Central Otago and you will be able to admire the art deco buildings of towns such as Ranfurly while enjoying excellent coffee and meals at classic country pubs. As you have a support vehicle you may like to take a short side trip to the attractive little town of Naseby, with its indoor ice curling rink, or St Bathans.
Your guide will transfer you to Pukerangi Station by vehicle where you board the heritage Taieri Gorge Train for your scenic journey to Dunedin (the Edinburgh of the South. You will travel from the rugged mountain interior of Central Otago to Dunedin’s city centre, taking in tunnels and dramatic viaducts with superb views of the gorge and informative live commentary en route. Your tour finishes in Dunedin.