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It's all about taking your time


Yep, it's 151km. We repeat... One hundred and fifty one kilometres.

Yep, there's a gradual incline before a gradual decline.

Yep, there's a prevailing wind you could potentially bike into; either from the south - making it a tough cycle if you start from Clyde. Or from the 'nor west making it a tough cycle if you start from Middlemarch. Either way, if the wind is against you that day, it's going to be a hard slog.

Nine times out of 10 the people that find the Rail Trail tough are those that don't allow themselves enough time. If you or your group have a low-to-moderate fitness level and haven't done much biking for a year or ten then we suggest you allow four or more days to complete the trail; averaging around 37km a day - (2 to 3 hours of biking a day) - this way, if you are going against the wind, at least you only have a relatively short distance to go to the next overnight stop before you can put your feet up.

It's hard for us to make the judgement call when people ask us which direction is the best direction to bike the Rail Trail. Generally though, we suggest you bike the direction which suits your travel arrangements best.

Be prepared

We recommend staying a night at your starting point before setting off on the Rail Trail.


Two reasons:

Firstly so you can get to know your hired bike. Pick up your bike the day before and go for a wee ride, (no extra fee for this) make sure you feel completely comfortable and satisfied with the set of wheels which are going to carry you for the next 151 km and if you're not completely happy with something, then at least you have time to get it sorted with us before you set off. 

Another reason is so you have plenty of time to get to your first stop; if you choose to travel to the starting point, jump on your hired bike and set off on the trail all on the same day, you might find yourself under pressure to get to your first stop before dark. 

Start as you mean to go on; relaxed and happy.


Mind your manners, please

  • Give way when approaching other trail users (especially those on horses).
  • Remember to ride in the centre of the track for trail preservation and to minimise disturbance of wildlife.
  • Do not interfere with grazing animals or any animals who appear to be in distress.
  • Take any rubbish with you. There are many historic features along the Central Otago Rail Trail and the concrete pipes are one of them; they are not rubbish bins.


  • Keep your helmet on at all times while cycling.
  • The Central Otago Rail Trail crosses a number of our key motor highways. Please ensure you and your children do not ride ahead into the path of oncoming traffic. 
  • Firearms, fires are not permitted on the Central Otago Rail Trail, neither are motorbikes or motor vehicles.
  • Dogs are only allowed on the Trail between Clyde and Alexandra – on a leash.

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