What to bring

The Otago Central Rail Trail offers cyclists a once-in-a-lifetime experience.   Central Otago is well known for its beautiful warm temperatures in the summer and crisp calm weather in the winter.  However, our weather is changeable and for safety and enjoyment we recommend that you are prepared for all seasons.  


Cycle Surgery offers a convenient shuttle and luggage transfer service with a generous 15kg weight limit per bag (timetables and pricing).  Your bags will be picked up from your accommodation in the morning and dropped off at your accommodation in the afternoon.  You can also choose to have panniers fitted to your bike, so you can carry essentials required for your days cycling - water, snacks, camera, jacket, sunscreen, extra clothing, wallet and tour itinerary.


Cycle Surgery recommends you bring the following items with you:


As New Zealand’s weather is notoriously changeable, pack for all conditions, regardless of the season. You may encounter glorious sunshine, driving rain, gusting winds and snow – all in the same day!

  • warm layers (merino, fleece) for frosty nights
  • rain- and wind-proof jackets and pants for wet windy weather 
  • pants or shorts suitable for cycling – we recommend padded cycling shorts
  • gloves suitable for cycling to protect your hands against the elements in wind, rain, snow and sun
  • a good hat and eye protection to protect your face from the sun and dust
  • comfortable, worn-shoes to prevent blisters - we recommend a comfortable gym shoe.
  • clean, casual clothing for well-deserved post-cycling meals and social outings at the end of your day

Personal Supplies


Water, water and more water!:

We recommend bringing 1.5–2.5 litres of water per person per day – and more if it’s hot. You will be able to purchase water or refill bottles at many places along the Trail, but be aware that some sections are more remote, and therefore you may need to go many hours without access to water.



Biking is hungry work. Bring plenty of healthy and filling snacks to help you work your wheels.


Toilet paper (or as Kiwis call it “dunny” paper):

The Central Otago Rail Trail offers plenty of toilet stops along the way, however, please carry your own toilet paper.  



Central Otago offers some of New Zealand’s hottest, sunniest weather. Remember to apply and reapply your sunscreen (SPF30 or higher) regularly throughout your journey, even on cloudy and cold days. And while you’re at it, pack some aloe vera or after-sun cream to sooth any accidently-burned bits of skin.


Mobile phone and charger:

Mobile phone coverage on the Otago Central Rail Trail ranges from great to not-so-great.  Cycle Surgery recommends that you carry your mobile during the trip in case of emergency and be sure to charge your phone each night (if possible). For more information on the specific coverage please visit your provider’s website.


Small first aid kit:

When enjoying the great outdoors, minor injuries and accidents can happen.  Be prepared by bringing essentials such as Band-Aids, antiseptic cream, tensor bandage, anti-chaffing cream and tape.



The Trail offers a glimpse into New Zealand’s rail history, including tunnels that can be dark. Explore them properly with help of a torch.


Camera with spare batteries:

Central Otago is blessed with with some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Believe us, you’re going to want to record your memories. And when you’re done, remember to post them to Facebook and tag Cycle Surgery.