Dale Says

January 6, 2009

Cycling the Otago Rail Trail

Filed under: Travel — Dale @ 7:22 pm

Cycling the Otago Rail Trail in New Zealand takes two-three days.  Adventure South adds an extra day of cycling before the Rail Trail as a warm-up, and a day after along the Pacific Coast. 

The first day is a warm-up on the way to the Rail Trail: a 15-mile ride along a beautiful canal, on a flat and nearly-deserted paved road.  It’s a chance to test your bikes (and your legs) and to enjoy the background of lakes, green hills, and snow-capped Alps.  If you’re really fortunate you’ll have views of majestic Mt. Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand.      Rides the next three days are on the Rail Trail, following the former railroad line past farms, rivers, small towns, and green rolling hills.  These rides are long, but relatively easy, on hard-packed dirt and gravel trails.  The total riding each day is 27 miles, 29 miles, and 37 miles, which you can break into smaller segments by alternating between cycling and riding in the bus.    

There are optional cycling rides for those who want extra riding —  to particularly interesting places, such as through the village of Ophir, a major center during the gold mining days, and down a forest trail along the beautiful Chultha River near Clyde.

The last day of cycling is an optional 15-mile cruise along the coast following cliffs and farms and in sight of the Pacific Ocean, into the rustic town of Oamaru.  This thriving coastal town is filled with history, good shopping, and excellent coffee shops and cafes. 

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