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The Otago Rail Trail offers a truly unique experience the whole family can enjoy. The trail can be accessed all year round and has been specifically designed for mountain-bikers, walkers and horseriders. Its level gravelled surface and lack of steep hills, ensures it's suitable for people of various fitness levels and ages.
The trail runs 150km, following the old Central Otago branch railway line from Middlemarch to Alexandra. Along the way travellers will be treated to some of Central Otago's most spectacular scenery, often not seen from the highways.
The trail takes travellers on a journey through quaint townships such as Chatto Creek, Omakau, Lauder, Oturehua, Wedderburn, Ranfurly, Waipiata, Hyde and Middlemarch. The heritage of the old railway line has been preserved,with viaducts, bridges and some of the old railway stations being retained.
Those in the mood for a little 'wine-tasting' on the journey will enjoy the various vineyards along the trail, which offer the best in local wines made from varieties such as riesling, gewurztraminer, chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and pinot gris. Some vineyards also offer accommodation, food and refreshments. Central Wine Tours will take visitors on comprehensive wine and pub tours.
For those wishing to stay on the trail itself there are many accommodation options available ranging from simple backpackers and hostels to refurbished period buildings, bed and breakfasts and luxury hotels. Poolburn, Ophir, Becks, St Bathans, Naseby, Macraes and Kyeburn provide alternative accommodation options for those wanting to explore the rail trail and areas beyond it.
Guided tours can be booked through numerous tour groups and include cycle tours, 4WD tours, walk tours, horse-treks and cruises of the Clutha River.
For more information visit: www.otagorailtrail.co.nz