Otago Central Rail Trail, Dunedin Overview

A 150km long trail made for walking, cycling, horse riding and biking, Otago Central Rail Trail is a pioneering tourist attraction in New Zealand for people wide across. It runs from Middlemarch to Clyde, taking the route of the former Otago Central railway. It stays open all year and it is distinctive for its separation from the mainland of any city which promises your trip to be right under the blue sky and lush green and orange fields on both sides of the trail.

It has an athletic end to it for its visitors because of the number of sporting outdoor activities it has to offer, like cycling and strolling and biking. 

The dramatic landscapes with a distinctive climate of New Zealand and some precautionary planning to avoid the coldest and hottest months one can make the most out of the trip, fulfilling and memorable.

The trail also takes you the countryside remote areas of Otago where you will come across the locals with their humble living style that mainly comprises of daily markets, farms and dairy. A good tour guide will let you in about the legends of Goldrush from the 1860 and other local anecdotes.

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The Rail-Trail is a remainder of a much larger and more trade-oriented rail track meant to link Dunedin and Central Otago. The route left off a certain section in the remote corners which was taken up by the New Zealand Department of Conservation in an attempt to turn it into something recreational.

So the remaining route to Clyde was turned into a rail trail which today is known as the Central Otago Rail Trail. The highest point of the trail is at an elevation of 2028 ft above sea level and the focal sightseeing is the Central Otago landscape and rail ducts.

Things to Do

Geocaching- A treasure hunt bug where a geocacher keeps a track of any typical cache you pick up from the trail. It is then officially recorded in their long book.

Maniototo Golf Club- Situated on the edge of Ranfurly township, it is a golf club with 9 holes with excellent grass to try out your golfing skills and extreme climatic patterns to challenge. The stunning landscape surrounding Ranfurly makes the golfing experience an erudite one.

Clutha River Cruises- Known as an important source in the time gold rush, Clutha river is now open to curated cruises that take you throughs some notable regions like Roxburgh Gorge, European and Chinese gold mining spots, Doctors and Butchers Point.

Central Cinema- A center for cinema screening with modern equipment, Central Cinema is what the name suggests. 

Naseby Swimming Dam- Perched on top of a hill opposite to a camping ground, the Swimming dam road is hot for its water races and other water sports for swimmers of all ages.

Food and Wine

Some of the best food joints to nibble on some light snacks or drinks are given below:
  • Jimmy Cook’s Kiwi Kitchen
  • Post Office Bar and Cafe
  • Dunstan Hotel And Bistro
  • Judge Rock Vineyard
  • Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead
  • Monteiths’s Brewery Bar Alexandra
  • Ancient Briton Hotel


Some of the accommodation lodges, hotels or inn are as follows:

  • Ranfurly Hotel
  • Ranfurly Motels
  • Olivers Central Otago
  • Ranfurly holiday park and motels

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