About the Otago Central Rail Trail
NZ's 1st Great Ride!
The Otago Central Rail Trail is a recreational facility that was once a railway. Open to cyclists, walkers and horse riders, it has been redeveloped as a public reserve under the management of Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Otago Central Rail Trail Trust set up to promote the Rail Trail.
The Otago Central Rail Trail can be used all-year-round and enables you to experience the beauty and solitude of this back country that was opened up to development just a little over 100 years ago.
The route chosen for the former rail way was the most difficult and expensive of seven proposed in 1877. This engineering feat can now be experienced by those who catch the Taieri Gorge Railway from Dunedin to Pukerangi or Middlemarch through the spectacular Taieri Gorge, and by cyclists, walkers and horse riders who travel the 150km old rail corridor, the Otago Central Rail Trail, between Middlemarch and Clyde.
You will experience magnificent viaducts and the intricate stonework in bridges and tunnels. These demonstrate not only the extraordinary skills of engineers and stonemasons but the tenacity of the many labourers who often worked in conditions of great hardship, especially in winter.
Connecting four Central Otago plains and valleys, the Rail Trail includes the Strath Taieri and the township of Middlemarch, the Maniototo (with Ranfurly at its centre), Ida Valley and Oturehua, and the Manuherikia area – with Alexandra and Clyde. Dotted along the trail you will also find other townships; each of these has accommodation available.