Catherine Stewart – Otago Rail Trail

8750 Otago Rail Trail   Stunning landscapes on the trail
8750 Otago Rail Trail Stunning landscapes on the trail

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I can’t wait to get back to Dunedin and do another cycle on the Otago Rail trail – the landscapes are amazing and every day is different.  The most popular months to cycle are October to April.  It pays to pre-book accommodation especially during school holidays and because of the ever increasing number of people now using the rail trail.

Be prepared for any type of weather conditions.  It can be sunny one minute and then change to the most challenging wind and downpour you can imagine – all part of the big adventure. has everything you need to know when planning accommodation, tour operators, bike hire, restaurants etc.

A three night trip is the most popular choice but you can take as many days as you like subject to availability of accommodation.

I have always begun my journey in Clyde.  If you fly into Queenstown you can catch an Intercity bus to Clyde and collect your cycle and away you go.  You can cycle alongside the river enroute to Alexandra or straight on to the rail trail in Clyde.

If you book through a tour company they will transport your luggage and then all you need is a pannier for essentials like a raincoat, water bottle, camera, sunscreen etc.  Most tour operators will meet you somewhere along the way, either at morning tea, lunch or afternoon tea when road access allows and if the weather turns “to custard” they can put your bike in the shuttle and drop you off at your accommodation.

Finishing the trail in Middlemarch is the beginning of another journey, the Taieri Gorge railway back to Dunedin.