9 Day Otago Cycling Tour
OverviewCentral Otago’s rolling hills turn from green to gold in the sunlight, providing a stunning backdrop to a succession of tiny, gold-rush towns where farmers mingle with visiting cyclists. Not only one of the country's top wine regions, the area also provides fantastic opportunities to explore a part of the world that feels lost in time on two wheels; from the prehistoric mountain ranges in the distance, to the remnants of prospecting days gone by and more.
This easy paced terrain bike tour follows the path of the former railway line that traverses the Central Otago region between the towns of Clyde and Middlemarch, with free time at leisure either side in Queenstown and Dunedin.. With vehicle assistance throughout, a luggage service, all the essential equipment provided and energetic local guides you are all set for a memorable adventure. Each stop along the way has a story to tell, a wine to try and even a go at the quirky Scottish sport of curling. A truly unique experience, this 9 day tour includes 8 nights accommodation, a 5 day semi-guided bike tour with concierge vehicle assistance, bike hire with essential equipment and more.
- Enjoy time at leisure in the resort town of Queenstown
- Enjoy 5-day semi-guided bike tour of the iconic Otago Rail Trail
- Visit the historic towns of Hyde, Waipiata, Oturehua and more
- Take the opportunity to send a postcard from NZ’s smallest working post office
- Visit the charming historic gold mining town of Ophir
- Visit the tiny town of Lauder, known for having New Zealand’s cleanest air
- Tour Hayes Engineering Works, a historical example of Kiwi Ingenuity
- Stop in at Gilchrist’s Store in Oturehua, NZ’s oldest operational General Store
- Walk around the scenic Blue Lake in the historic village of St Bathans
- Visit the famously haunted Vulcan Hotel in St Bathans
- Visit the Art-Deco town of Ranfurly
- Enjoy a tour of the Lammermoor Whisky and Gin Distillery at Lammermoor Station
- Stay in the historic gold rush village of Naseby and marvel at its crystal clear skies
- Enjoy the ancient Scottish sport of Curling on New Zealand’s only indoor curling rink
- Cycle across the Maniototo Plain towards the Upper Taieri Gorge
- Enjoy a day at leisure in beautiful Dunedin
- 4 nights 4-star hotel accommodation
- 4 nights 3-star accommodation in quality lodges and hotels
- Daily continental breakfast from Day 4 to 7
- Full concierge vehicle assistance along the rail trail
- Tour leader assistance from Day 3 to 7
- Daily bag transfer between locations so you can cycle freely
- Rail Trail Passport and certificate of completion
- Bike hire for the duration of the rail trail including
- Puncture repair kit
- Gel seat
- Pannier (two on request)
- Bike light
- Drink bottle
- Transportation by private A/C vehicles
- Transfers from Queenstown to Clyde and Middlemarch to Dunedin
ItineraryDownload Itinerary Brochure
Today, make your own way to the hotel accommodation and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.Overnight: Oaks Shores or similar, Queenstown
Meals included: None
Today is a free day to explore Queenstown, or alternatively take part in an optional tour.Overnight: Oaks Shores or similar, Queenstown
Meals included: None
This morning you will have an early start, being met at approximately 7.30am by your guide and transfer to Clyde where you will have you will have some free time to explore the historic main street and enjoy a coffee at iconic Olivers Lodge and Stables before your bike fitting and safety briefing before setting out on the rail trail.
Your route takes you alongside the Manuherikia River to the historic Chatto Creek Tavern. All that remains of Chatto Creek is the charming tavern and New Zealand’s smallest working Post Office. The guide will meet you here - it’s a great place to stop for lunch (not included) before tackling Tiger Hill. Once you’ve tamed Tiger Hill, it’s a gentle ride down to the railway town of Omakau, your destination for the night. After checking in to Mandy’s Accommodation your guide will take you to visit the charming and historic gold mining village of Ophir. Enjoy a stroll along the main street and a drink at Pitches Store or Blacks Hotel before heading back for dinner at the Omakau Hotel (not included).
Please note: For the next 5 days the guide will not bike with the group. The guide will take you to the trail from your accommodation each morning and get everyone set to ride each sector of the trail. The guide will then drive to a number of locations at points where the track has road access and check in on your group until the last member has passed through, before moving to the next checkpoint. They will also meet and spend time with the group at morning tea and lunch venues each day. At no time will they be more than 10-15 minutes away from the group and there is good cell coverage, so any assistance is readily available. The vans carry extra chilled water and will also have small snacks and fruit in case riders need a "pick me up" along the way. The guide will meet the riders at the end of the day's section of the trail and deliver them and their luggage to the accommodation and then take them on the planned excursions and return you each night to the accommodation. All bikes are 6-24 months old and undergo comprehensive checking and maintenance so the likelihood of technical issues along the trail are very low and assistance will never be far away.
Meals included: None
The ride from Omakau to Lauder is a flat 9km. Take a deep breath - Lauder’s claim to fame is having the cleanest and most-pollution free air in the world. The New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has a research facility here. The guide will check in with you here while you enjoy a coffee stop at Stationside Cafe, before you head out on your bikes into the Poolburn Gorge – where viaducts, two tunnels and stunning scenery make this one of the most spectacular sections of the trail.
On your way into Oturehua, visit Hayes Engineering Works where your guide will meet you for a tour. A popular rest stop on the Otago Central Rail Trail, Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead is the legacy of English immigrants Ernest and Hannah Hayes, who settled in Central Otago after their arrival in 1882. Though he worked initially as a millwright at local flour mills, Ernest’s enterprise began when he started inventing tools to simplify work on his 150-acre farm near Oturehua. From rabbit bait cutters to windmills, Hayes’ labour-saving inventions quickly spread around the country and overseas. Oturehua is just a few kilometres up the trail and home to Gilchrist’s Store - part store, part museum. It’s New Zealand’s oldest continuously operating general store and has shelves of nostalgic products bearing long-gone brands. Once you’ve checked into Inverlair Lodge your guide will take you on a scenic drive to St Bathans for a walk around the Blue Lake and a tour of the historic village including a drink at the famously haunted Vulcan Hotel. The spa pool at Inverlair Lodge is a great spot to admire the view before you’re collected for dinner tonight at the Oturehua Hotel (not included).
Meals included: Breakfast
From Oturehua it’s just an 8 km ride to the highest point on the trail, and after that, it’s all downhill to Wedderburn. From here it’s an easy glide down to the Art Deco township of Ranfurly. Here the guide will take you to a nearby distillery. Lammermoor Distillery is a unique farm distillery hand-crafting New Zealand Whisky & Gin on 5200 hectare Lammermoor Station, 55 kilometres inland of Ranfurly. Here you will learn about the whisky and gin-making process, and enjoy some tastings of the various malt whiskies and craft gins produced. This afternoon you’ll travel to the historic gold mining village of Naseby, home to the Southern hemisphere's only dedicated indoor curling rink, spectacular night skies and Naseby Lodge. Dine tonight at an iconic pub dating back to the 1860's (not included).Overnight: Naseby Lodge, Naseby
Meals included: Breakfast
This morning in Naseby try your hand at the ancient Scottish sport of Curling at New Zealand’s only indoor curling rink, a must-do experience for anyone visiting Naseby. After lunch (not included) return to Ranfurly for the easy cruise across the Maniototo Plain to Waipiata and Kokonga, before entering the Upper Taieri Gorge. Once you pass the white clay cliffs and go over the curved bridge, it’s time to say hello to historic Hyde. Here the guide will meet you and take you back to the charming Waipiata Motel. Enjoy dinner this evening at the Waipiata Hotel (not included).Overnight: Waipiata Motel, Waipata
Meals included: Breakfast
Your guide will collect you from Waipiata this morning for the trip back to Hyde. From here, it’s a downhill cruise across the Strath Taieri plain to Middlemarch. Cycling south, you’ll come to a memorial for the 21 people who died in the Hyde train crash on 6 June 1943.
When you arrive, enjoy a celebratory lunch (not included) before saying a fond farewell to your bikes and boarding the vehicle transportation to Dunedin.
Meals included: Breakfast
Today is a free day to explore Dunedin.Overnight: The Victoria Hotel or similar, Dunedin
Meals included: None
This morning check out of the hotel and make your own arrangements onwards or home.
Meals included: None
After purchase, you will receive a receipt and a Purchase Confirmation, directing you to an online Passenger Information Form. The Passenger Information Form must be completed within 72 hours of purchase.
Any special requests, preferences and optional extras MUST be clearly stated in your Passenger Information Form. Any change requested after submitting your Passenger Information Form cannot be guaranteed, is strictly subject to availability and will incur surcharges as outlined in the Schedule of Fees below.
On purchasing this Travel Offer you are bound by the General Terms and Conditions, in addition to the specific terms and conditions outlined in this Important Information.
Please note: this tour requires a minimum of 6 passengers to operate and departures are not guaranteed until this minimum number is met. Please refrain from booking travel arrangements such as flights prior to receiving a confirmation email that your departure date has hit minimum numbers and is now guaranteed. This confirmation email will be sent at least 60 days prior to the departure date, and if minimum numbers are not met a date change or refund will be offered.
Covid-19 Booking Policy
- TripADeal Tour packages are non-refundable. If your Tour package is affected by Covid-19 related travel restrictions and you are unable to travel, you will receive either a free date change (credit that is specific to your original package and purchase value) or an open credit less any non-recoverable supplier fees to the value of your original purchase for use on any other package available via the TripADeal website. Please note: Date change credits are subject to availability and not guaranteed until confirmed by TripADeal, not the property/tour operator you are due to stay/travel with.
Please note: all additional charges are payable direct to your Travel Consultant in NZD (unless otherwise stated).
Travel offer is valid for travel on selected dates until the 23rd of April 2023.
This travel offer is priced for one person/people based on twin share.
Single Traveller Supplement
For solo travellers a mandatory single supplement of $720.00 applies.
October: 18, 26
November: 19, 27
December: 8, 15
January: 8, 14, 21, 29
February: 4, 10, 15
March: 4, 12, 19, 24
April: 1, 10, 15, 23
Please note: See checkout for live dates and availability.
4 star (self-rated)
Queenstown: Oaks Shores or similar
Dunedin: The Victoria Hotel or similar
3 Star (self-rated)
Omakau: Nicky's Place
Oturehua: Inverlair Lodge
Naseby: Naseby Lodge
Waipiata: Waipiata Motel
Please note: rooms offered are based on a lead-in room type, and are subject to availability based on seasonality. Properties will be confirmed, no later than two weeks prior to travel.
Maximum Room Capacity
2 People (subject to availability).
- No child discounts. Full price applies for all children travelling with their parents.
- Valid for Children 12 years old and over.
Please note: Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult 18 years old and over to travel. No unaccompanied minors allowed.
2 x Single or 1 x Queen (subject to availability).
Adjoining / Interconnecting Rooms
Subject to availability and at the hotel's discretion. Please enquire on booking if you require this option.
Minimum group size 6, maximum group size 10 per vehicle.
Ebike Upgrade: $250 per person
- The optional upgrade listed above must be purchased on checkout or over the phone prior to submitting your passenger information form (subject to availability)
- Visa fees and requirements (A visa is not required if travelling on a New Zealand passport
- Domestic transfers / flights
- Meals/beverages not stated in the itinerary
- Optional gratuities/tipping
- Optional activities/tours
- Personal expenses
- Travel insurance (Strongly recommended)
Please note: A comprehensive travel Insurance policy must be organised BEFORE all details can be finalised.
TOUR GUIDE VS. TOUR LEADER
Often locals with intimate knowledge of an area, its culture, and history. Their role entails providing commentary, routing the tour, and seeing that people have a good time. They are a licensed, qualified expert who supplies specific information on history, art, architecture and culture of the city/village/attraction in which he or she is guiding the tour. The guide meets the group at the required place and leaves the group at the end of the tour, they do not travel with the group.
An experienced person tasked with ensuring the smooth operation of tours, as well as providing practical support to passengers throughout the whole trip. Their role primarily includes assisting with accommodation, transportation between locations, and communication with tour guides in each stop. A tour leader may provide general guidance around a city or village, and offer information on the place visited on the bus, however they are not required to have specific knowledge on art, architecture, or history. They are not allowed to provide a guided tour or commentary of a city/village/attraction once there and if caught doing so, can be fined.
Please note: Tour leaders/guides are not a standard inclusion in all travel offers. Tour leaders/guides will only be made available when particularly required to enhance the experience of the destination featured.
Track Width and Surface
The track is not sealed, but most of it is compacted and hard. Paths are 2-way, which means that you can be sociable and ride alongside a friend most of the time. There are some narrow cattle-stop grates, and “chicanes” (s-shaped safety gateways) before a road crossing, but the minimum width on all barriers is 900mm. This means that the track should be accessible to most wheelchairs and hand-bikes – though the chicanes will require some manoeuvrability to get around if you are towing a child trailer, etc. When there is a gate (e.g. the road crossing near Daisybank) it will not be locked, but needs to be closed behind you.
As the track was originally built for a steam train, the gradient is an easy one. Overall the elevation climbs from 200 m – 618 m at Wedderburn (the highest peak of the trail). Tiger Hill, between Chatto Creek and Omakau, may have some cyclists pushing their bikes for a short time, but the incline is only 1:50 (or a 2% rise in elevation). However, a tail wind or a head wind in any place can make a huge difference in the amount of effort required.
The trail is suitable for all ages, but you need to be reasonably fit and competent on a bike. Most cyclists allow three to four days to complete the trip – if cycling at 10 kmh and covering 35-40 km a day. Four hours a day on a saddle is enough for most recreational cyclists and allows time to relax with friends and explore further afield. Most walkers (if covering 25 km per day at a speed of 4-6 kph) allow at least six days for the whole trip. The time taken depends on your reason for doing the Trail – whether you want a relaxing holiday – or you are into fitness/endurance training. The fastest time to complete the Trail in the February duathlon is now under six hours!
WHAT TO BRING
- Padded cycling shorts if you have them
- Sneakers / comfortable cycling shoes
- Lightweight leggings (Polyprop / Lycra / Merino)
- Mid-weight jacket (merino/fleece)
- Long sleeve tee-shirt (merino / micro fleece)
- Short sleeve tee-shirt
- Waterproof jacket
- Cycle gloves
- Lightweight scarf
- Something to wear for dinner (tidy casual is all you need)
Please note: your included bike hire in this package will include the following;
-Puncture repair kit
- Pannier (two on request)
- Bike light
- Drink bottle
CLIMATE & AVERAGE TEMPERATURES
Mountain ranges surround Central Otago on all sides, sheltering it from rain in every direction; this has created a semi-continental, semi-arid climate. As the wind (especially the nor-wester) flows over the ranges, it warms and dries the air as it descends into the valleys. Because of this low humidity even the hottest days (temperatures can reach 30° or more) are more bearable, and it is easier to sleep on summer nights.
Winter snow will sit on the mountain tops for months and the temperature quickly plummets in the late afternoon as the sun disappears. Clear, sunny days can result in cold frosty nights in winter, also in late autumn and even into spring. Winds can sometimes be gusty and strong, the prevailing direction hard to pick – so you are lucky if the wind is behind you.
Some meals are included in the tour, for all other meals; lunches and dinners the tour leader (when available) will offer assistance with reservations, suggestions and directions to local restaurants. It is your responsibility to notify TripADeal of any dietary requests/requirements. Please note; we will do our best to meet your requests/requirements, however cannot guarantee that we will always be able to.
You will be responsible for all your personal belongings whilst on the tour. With regards to luggage, you must carry your own luggage from the coach to the hotel room and back to the coach. The driver will assist with the uploading and off-loading of the luggage from the coach.
Gratuities / Tipping:
Gratuities (tips) are not included in the tour price for services of the tour leader (when available) and driver throughout the tour. Tipping is optional and at the customer's discretion.
Please note: In the event entrance to a site is affected by changes in operating hours or public holiday closures, your itinerary where possible, will be adjusted or an similar activity will be offered in its place (subject to availability).
A tourist visa is not required if travelling on a New Zealand passport.
Please note: Passengers who are not New Zealand citizens must check with the respective consulate or visa agency to determine what their visa requirements are and what personal identification is required. It is also important to note, some areas of employment such as journalism, government authorities and charity organisations may have additional restrictions in applying for Visas. This may in turn affect the type of application required.
We are proud to offer a range of travel insurance products - please ask your Travel Consultant for more information.
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Name Changes Due To Passenger Error
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