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The Central Otago Rail Trail – The best bits!

Luxury Trail Co. Rail Trail Classic

Now don’t get me wrong, with its ever changing scenery, we do love all of the Central Otago Rail Trail.

However, we do have some favorite spots.

See below for our list of highlights along the way!

  1. Clyde – Like most Central Otago Towns, Clyde owes its existence to the gold which was discovered in 1861. With its amazing restaurants, boutique shops & sympathetically restored historical buildings, be sure to spend a night or two in Clyde at the start or finish of your cycling holiday.
  2. Chatto Creek Tavern – Opened in 1886, the stone & mudbrick building was once the focal point of the local community. Great hearty food, a great beer garden & a resident donkey,  makes this a perfect lunch stop for your first day on the trail.
  3. Poolburn Gorge – Arguably the most scenic part of the Rail Trail, this section of the trail is cut through the spectacular Poolburn Gorge. Here you will also find the first two of three tunnels on the trail as well as the impressive Poolburn Viaduct.
  4. Hayes Engineering Works & Homestead – The former home of Ernest Hayes, a gifted inventor. Step back in time and marvel at this perfectly preserved homestead & engineering works. The cafe is pretty good too!
  5. Golden Progress Mine -Worth the short side trip to view the only surviving Poppet Head in the Otago Goldfields.
  6. Ranfurly – Ranfurly is the Maniototo’s commercial centre & was once a bustling railway town. Following a spate of fires in the 1930’s much of the town was re-built & it is now famous for its art-deco architecture.
  7. Waipiata Hotel – Home to quite possibly the best pies in NZ!
  8. Hyde Railway Station – A stunning railway station with extremely interesting information panels for you to read.

Not quite the Rail Trail – but worth the visit:-

  1. St Bathans – In 1887, Saint Bathans was a bustling town with around 2,000 miners living in the immediate vicinity. Some of the buildings from that era remain today and little has changed, it’s very easy to imagine the town as it was during the gold rush. – we can add this to your trip.
  2. Naseby – Often referred to as the “jewel of the Maniototo” Naseby is an attractive place to visit, historic old buildings, a pub, cafe & of course the famous Indoor Curling! – we can add this to your trip.

Tunnel on the Central Otago Rail Trail Bridge across Rail Trail Historic buildings in Naseby

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