Day 1 QUEENSTOWN – CROMWELL – LAKE DUNSTAN - CLYDE
Depart Queenstown 8.00 am and drive through the dramatic Kawerau Gorge to Cromwell. Start biking, passing through Cromwell’s Old Town, a small historic precinct dating back to the goldrush days of the 1800s. Continue along the Kawerau Arm of Lake Dunstan to Bannockburn Bridge with stunning views across the lake. Stop for lunch and a wine tasting at a nearby boutique vineyard. There are two options from here: a more demanding ride along the new Lake Dunstan Trail into the dramatic Cromwell Gorge, where the track winds around sheer rockfaces and over lake inlets on impressively engineered platforms and bridges rising above the lake to Clyde; or, drive to Clyde and ride all or part of the easier river trail to Alexandra. Stay in historic Clyde overnight and enjoy a welcome dinner with your group.
Cycling: Smith’s Way to Cornish Point 30 km; Cornish Point to Clyde via Lake Dunstan 25km; Clyde to Alexandra River Trail 12 km
Day 2 CLYDE TO LAUDER (Cycling 44 km)
Leave Clyde via the historic railway line and cross rural plains encircled by dramatic mountain ranges. From the tiny settlement of Chatto Creek, the trail climbs gently before levelling off at Omakau. We’ll then hop on the bus for the short detour to must-see Ophir township and the Raggedy Range lookout for a bird’s eye view of region. Back on the bikes, it’s another 9km of easy riding to reach Lauder. Late afternoon we’ll drive to St Bathans for a walk around the surreal Blue Lake formed during the 1800s gold days. Enjoy a game of pool or banter at the Lauder pub before we tuck into a well-earned dinner.
Day 3 LAUDER TO RANFURLY (Cycling 47 km)
Today’s ride features the first tunnels and bridges as we trace the pretty Poolburn Gorge and head into the Idaburn Valley. Stop at Hayes Engineering Works, a delightfully rustic heritage site, and Oturehua’s old-fashioned grocery store. After lunch, it’s a gentle climb to the Rail Trail’s highpoint, then a downhill roll to Ranfurly with its striking art deco architecture. In the afternoon, we’ll take the short drive to Naseby, a cute forestry town famous for its indoor curling rink. Here’s your chance to try ‘bowls on ice’! Naseby is also terrific for a stroll or a sup at the old pub. Return to Ranfurly for dinner.
Day 4 RANFURLY TO DUNEDIN (Cycling 59 km)
Today is the longest day of the tour. Head towards Waipiata, then follows the edge of an old lake before entering the Taieri Gorge with yet more bridges and tunnels. It’s a flowing downhill run to the historic Hotel Hyde, a picturesque spot for a breather. From here, the final 27km takes in the poignant 1943 Hyde rail disaster memorial, then crosses rolling plains towards the trail’s end at Middlemarch. After lunch, we’ll drive to Dunedin where we‘ll celebrate our trip with a final group dinner.
Day 5 DUNEDIN TO CHRISTCHURCH (Cycling 24 km)
You have the choice to leave the tour this morning in Dunedin or return to Christchurch. You can’t leave Dunedin without a short but sharp walk up Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street. Drive to Moeraki to see the mysterious Moeraki Boulders. Our last bike ride is through rural countryside to reach Oamaru. There’s time for a wander in the Victorian Precinct. After lunch continue northwards across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch to arrive at approximately 6.00 pm.
15 Nov, 13 Dec, 10 Jan, 7 Feb, 21 Mar, 23 Apr, 17 Oct, 14 Nov, 13 Dec, 2023 9 Jan, 6 Feb, 27 Feb, 5 Apr, 24 Apr
NZ$2,095 – 2,145 / Single supplement $450
Bike rental: 21 speed hybrid $170 / E Bike $500
4 breakfasts, 1 lunch. & 4 dinners
Moderate cycling mostly on gravel surfaces.
Ride the stunning new Lake Dunstan trail through the magnificent Cromwell Gorge then cycle this 152 km track along the route of the former Otago Central Railway between Clyde and Middlemarch. Discover the gorges, tunnels, immense viaducts, old gold mines and the distinctive landscape of the Maniatoto and Alexandra regions. Stop for a drink and a bite in the small characterful towns along the way that the Rail Trail has given new life to. It was voted NZ's #1 Place to Cycle.