Ride through an array of spectacular southern landscapes on our fully guided and supported trip taking in both the Queenstown Trails and Otago Central Rail Trail.
The adventure begins with a warm up on Queenstown’s spectacular Arrow River Bridges Ride taking in the famous Kawarau ‘Bungy’ Bridge and vine-lined Gibbston Valley.
Then you’re off on New Zealand’s first and most famous Great Ride. Following the old Otago Central railway line from Clyde to Middlemarch, this iconic, multi-day ride takes in grand landscapes, charming towns, country hospitality and rich history.
Our expert guides will show you the best trailside highlights such as heritage sites, architectural gems, and vineyards.
You’ll also enjoy delicious local food and drink, and friendly welcomes in accommodation full of character.
- 4 breakfasts, 4 dinners
- 4 nights hotel/motel accommodation on twin share basis, mostly ensuite bathroom facilities
- Professional qualified driver/guide
- 2 professional guides/drivers on trips with 8 or more people
- Private vehicle transport (except for Taieri Gorge train)
- Taieri Gorge Train trip to Dunedin
- Otago Central Rail Trail passport
- Wine tasting at a Central Otago vineyard
- Water and snacks while cycling
- Access and concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation
- New Zealand Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Queenstown to Clyde - 16km Cycle
We’ll meet in downtown Queenstown early morning to introduce ourselves, get our bikes sorted, and talk through the adventure to come. Then we’re off to Arrowtown to warm up on the Arrow River Bridges Ride – arguably the best of the Queenstown Trails. As we head into the vine-lined Gibbston Valley, we’ll pass historic Kawarau Bridge, home to the world’s original bungy jump. After a drive through the picturesque Kawarau Gorge and lunch in Cromwell, it’s another scenic drive to Clyde – start of the Otago Central Rail Trail. Take time out to explore the village and surrounds on foot or bike before the evening starts with wine-tasting at a local vineyard. There’ll be plenty to talk about over our first group dinner! Cycling distance: 16km/10miles (optional ride in the afternoon 15km)
Clyde to Lauder - 44km Cycle
Leaving Clyde via the historic railway line, we’ll track across rural plains encircled by dramatic mountain ranges. Beyond the tiny settlement of Chatto Creek, the trail climbs gently before levelling off to reach our lunch stop, Omakau. We’ll then hop on the bus for the short detour to must-see Ophir township and the Raggedy Range lookout for a bird’s eye view of region. Back on the bikes, it’s another 9km of easy riding to reach Lauder. Late afternoon we’ll drive to St Bathans for a walk around the surreal Blue Lake formed during the 1800s gold days. Enjoy a game of pool or banter at the Lauder pub before we tuck into a well-earned dinner. Cycling distance: 44km/27miles
Lauder to Ranfurly - 47km Cycle
Today’s ride features the trip’s first tunnels and bridges as we trace the pretty Poolburn Gorge and head into the Idaburn Valley. We’ll stop at Hayes Engineering Works, a delightfully rustic heritage site, and Oturehua’s old-fashioned grocery store. After lunch, it’s a gentle climb to the rail trail’s highpoint, then a downhill roll to Ranfurly with its striking art deco architecture. Late afternoon, we’ll take the short drive to Naseby, a cute forestry town famous for its indoor curling rink. Here’s your chance to try ‘bowls on ice’ – it’s very addictive! Naseby is also terrific for a stroll or a sup at the old pub, both nice ways to wind down before we return to Ranfurly for dinner. Cycling distance 47km/29 miles
Ranfurly to Dunedin - 59km Cycle
Today combines the trip’s biggest daily distance with some of its most fun riding. The trail tracks towards Waipiata, then follows the edge of an old lake before entering the Taieri Gorge with yet more bridges and tunnels. It’s a flowing downhill run to the historic Hotel Hyde, a picturesque spot for a breather. From here, the final 27km takes in the poignant 1943 Hyde rail disaster memorial, then wends across rolling plains towards the trail’s end at Middlemarch. After a well-earned café break, we’ll board the heritage Taieri Gorge Railway for the spectacular journey through to Dunedin where we‘ll celebrate our trip with a final group dinner. Cycling distance: 59km/37 miles
Dunedin to Christchurch - 24km Cycle
After breakfast, it’s a fond farewell to fellow riders leaving us in Dunedin. For the rest of us, it’s off to Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street. After a short but sharp walk up and down again, we’ll continue driving north to admire the Moeraki Boulders. Further north, we’ll get back in the saddle for a final ride along the coast, through rural countryside to reach Oamaru. There, wander around the portside park and historic Victorian Precinct to enjoy boutique shopping, dining, and photo ops galore. After lunch we continue driving northwards across the Canterbury Plains, and on to Christchurch for a central city drop-off around 6pm. Cycling distance: 24km/15 miles