Otago Central Rail Trail – New Zealand’s Original Great Ride is open all year round. It’s all off-road, no traffic, just Central Otago’s big skies and distinctive landscape to enjoy.
Come and experience for yourself why thousands of people love exploring Otago Central Rail Trail at a leisurely pace. Whatever your interests are, there’s something here for you. Discover old historic gold-mining villages, country pubs, rugged scenery, or try some great off-trail adventures… check out all the things to “See and Do” on our site. Get a group of friends together and come and find what “Southern Hospitality” is all about.
Cycling lazily through farmland, getting up close to farm animals, smelling the country smells – all this can be a different and special experience for many city dwellers.
The first farmers in Central made their gold from the sheep’s back (their “golden fleece”) – real gold took over for a decade – then it was back to the sheep again. Merino sheep still thrive in the dry hill country bordering the Trail and clothing made from their fine, soft wool has become very desirable in recent years.
Beef cattle, deer and other sheep breeds also do well on the local farms, while the spread of irrigation means that the more profitable dairy farming is now possible. Some farmers are discovering that “dairy support” (grazing other farmers’ dairy cows over winter) is a lucrative use of their land – and the cows seem to like a nice dry winter holiday. Growing crops to sell as stock feed, such as kale or lucerne, is yet another use of the land.
And what about those rabbits? Introduced in the 1870s for game, they soon became a major plague in the dry hills. For a few years millions of them were killed and processed for their meat or fur in Waipiata or Dunedin – now pest control is just another huge cost for farmers.
Please join us in 2017-18 for the Mother-of-all bike vacations
After spending almost two decades on the South Island of New Zealand we have come up with the best New Zealand bike tour. Our cycle tours are 12 days long and offer a rich assortment of scenery, wildlife, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. A recent guest commented that New Zealand was “a wonderful tour in what surely must be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Superb accommodations, delicious meals, well selected bike routes, and extraordinary support by our leaders! Two thumbs up Great Bike Tours! Our family members will be fondly remembering this trip for many years to come.”