Otago Central Rail Trail

Otago Central Rail Trail


The Otago Central Rail Trail is recognized as a signature of Otago Central thanks to its gorgeous scenery, important conservation, and heritage values. This amiable trail is a terrific recreational and tourism asset that brings more than 15,000 visitors to the region per year (most of them are people on bicycles), not to mention the number of around 80,000 users who commute or ride the trail on a short section.

These numbers come with good reasons. The trail follows the old Otago Central railway line connecting Clyde and Middlemarch in South Island, New Zealand. Visitors are lead to unique heartland and areas preserved by the dry climate, which cannot be contemplated when using other means.

The rail trail has everything for everyone. Hop on your bike and explore historic gold-mining villages, dry landscape, wide open spaces, huge skies, and majestic mountains. Reach your eyes to panoramic vistas when the trail rolls through “Big Sky” country scattered with rock tors and tussock grasslands.

Otago Central Rail Trail is a pleasant 152-km route that is perfect for those who love leisurely rides, easy and enjoyable for families and friends.


The trail is all off-road, no traffic. It is a packed gravel surface 3-meter wide with an average incline of 1:50, grade easy. Smooth, flowy, and windy.


New Zealand's Original Great Ride is open all year round. There are multiple access points with a great number of services along the entire trail.

Food and drink

When it comes to Otago Central Rail Trail’s food lover, great choices are endless. Don’t miss the local wine and sun-ripened seasonal fruit.

More details

Central Otago is famous for its four truly distinct seasons, which is not common in New Zealand. The trail is open all year round, and it is fantastic to ride in reason, just pick which you prefer.

Summer welcomes you with warm weather and very blue skies. Autumn is the time of golden heartland. Try winter for the most spectacular scenery. And blow your mind with fresh and beautiful landscape in Spring.

Take your bike and explore the real “Southern Hospitality”.

Trail map

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147.267 km / 91.507 mi

Total Distance

813 m / 2,666 ft

Total Ascent

773 m / 2,536 ft

Total Descent

623 m / 2,045 ft

Highest Point

Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
Ride Duration: Full day
Fitness Level: Low
Language(s): English
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Gravel Road
Mobile Coverage: Excellent
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle
Phone Number: +64 3 9421 222
Website: http://www.otagocentralrailtrail.co.nz
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