Travel Blog: New Zealand #4 – cycling tour gets underway 

Cycling tourism

The Central Otago Rail Trail on New Zealand’s South Island, has been on our to-do list for quite some time now. It’s simply a disused rail corridor which has been turned into a trail for cyclists and  walkers. The land was owned by the railways, so years later after the trains had stopped running,  a plan was made to turn the track into a recreation pathway and encourage people to ride or walk and help keep the history of the railways alive. It’s now managed by the Department of Conservation. There are many fantastic bridges and tunnels along the 152km section that would otherwise be left to rot. 

And so it begins

We finally managed to get ourselves to New Zealand for some good old fashioned exercise while seeing a lovely part of the world. What a great way to travel! 

Our good friends, Ros and Bob, decided to join us on our 2 week adventure, of which the Otago rail trail component was 5 days. We were well supported by Trail Journeys, who transported our bags each day and booked us into some amazing accomodation along the way. Thanks go to Outdoor Travel in Bright for making the bookings from Australia. 

Day 1: We were transported from Queenstown to Clyde where we were able to leave our bags, get fitted out with our bikes, helmets and panniers, given information and sent off on our adventure. 

This photo shows us ready to go! Our bikes all had good fat tyres which were able to handle the various surfaces along the trail. Bob had an electric bike which we’d arranged from our Australian operator beforehand. 

We were very interested in the setup at the Clyde depot with their hundreds of bikes and gear available, and their very helpful staff were great to deal with. 

Our first day of riding was always only going to be an easy, short ride to ease us into the bikes. We rode from the depot back into the quaint village of Clyde for some lunch before taking the river track to Alexandra. It was a beautiful 16km ride alongside the river which was the most amazing blue I’ve ever seen. It was a lovely scenic ride. The area was known in its heyday as a gold rush town. 

The weather was cool but comfortable for riding and we all did it quite easily. The bikes took a bit of getting used to but we took our time, had lots of photos breaks and just enjoyed the fresh air and exercise. Ros found this old bathtub on the track and had a little rest. Many properties border the trail and made us feel very welcome. 

We made it to Alexandra in good time, found our motel and checked out the place. It wasn’t a huge town but one of the largest we will come across along the trail. It was a nice place to stay and our hosts were very friendly and welcoming. 

Grant and I went for a ride down the Roxburgh Gorge track, a narrow, winding trail that went alongside the river with lots of ups and downs. It was quite challenging for me but I really enjoyed it. The wind was also picking up and rain was threatening. 

By the time we got back to our accommodation it was time to go out for dinner and the weather was closing in. We enjoyed a good quality meal in a local tavern and slept well. 

Day 2 to follow. 


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