Otago Central Rail Trail

Can Too Adventure Challenge

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Trek Dates
17 - 21 March 2024



Trek Cost


New Zealand

Cycle the Otago Central Rail Trail with Can Too and help raise much needed funds for cancer research

Challenge Highlights

  • Join the Can Too team and help raise vital funds for early career cancer research
  • Ride the stunning new Lake Dunstan trail through the magnificent Cromwell Gorge
  • Enjoy easy riding in epic landscapes with big skies on the Otago Central Rail Trail
  • Go deep into history through tunnels, over bridges, along railways & riverside paths
  • Admire architectural gems in Clyde, Ophir, Wedderburn and Ranfurly
  • Savour delicious local wine & food, and stay in great accommodation

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This iconic, multi-day ride takes in grand landscapes, charming towns, country hospitality and rich history.

Ride through an array of spectacular Southern landscapes on your supported trip, following the old Otago Central railway line from Clyde to Middlemarch.

You’ll also enjoy delicious local food and drink and friendly welcomes in accommodations full of character.

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Challenge Grade

The Otago Central Rail Trail is graded introductory and is a good, hard-packed wide trail with just one significant hill which is a gradual gradient as it follows the course of the old railway.

Overall you will need a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy the trip, however, you will have an eBike which reduces the required effort. 

The more training you have done on hills and on compacted gravel, the more enjoyable your trip will be.

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Optional Addition - Lake Dunstan Trail

Start your trip one day early, on 16 March, with this incredible day of riding. It's not to be missed. 

The section of the Lake Dunstan Trail through the Cromwell Gorge is moderately technical as it is more challenging with some short hills, a narrow track, tight corners and exposure in places. This is why it is offered as an optional addition to the Otago Central Rail Trail. 

Intermediate bike handling skills and a sense of adventure are enough to get you through this day. Plus, you'll have the assistance of an eBike to help on the tougher climbs. 

The additional costs to include the Lake Dunstan Trail, including an additional night's accommodation at Dunstan House, is as below.

  • $385 solo
  • $270pp twin share

Frequently asked questions

Who is this ride suitable for?

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Rated as “Grade 1 Easiest” by New Zealand Cycle Trails

The tour operator suggests it is a mix of Grade 1 Easiest and Grade 2 Easy given the gravel surface and the climb to the highest point from either end of the trail. The trail is very accessible to most people, and you will have an E-Bike, making any climbs significantly easier.

What are the hills like? Steep?

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The trail climbs from either end to a high point near the middle at Wedderburn.

Max gradient:
1 in 50 (that’s 1 metre up or down in every 50 metres cycled or a 2% gradient)

For reference, the gradient of the main deck of the Sydney Harbour Bridge is 1 in 40, 20% steeper than the maximum gradient of the Otago Central Rail Trail. 

Average gradient:

What is the surface that we will be riding on?

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Surface quality varies across the trail with many sections having been resurfaced since the trail was reopened. This resurfacing effort continues each year.

The trail is very similar to a gravel country road with two smooth parts where people can cycle side by side.

What is the weather like in March?

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It's typically warm through the days, but can get cool at night. 

The region experiences particularly low annual rainfall, but it is always best to be prepared by carrying a spray jacket and insulating layers. 

Prevailing wind

North Westerly

Season averages

Spring (Sept to Nov) -3 to 20°C – rainfall 28mm / month

Summer (Dec to Feb) 10 to 30+°C – rainfall 38mm / month

Autumn (Mar to May) -3 to 24°C – rainfall 30mm / month

Winter (Jun to Aug) -6 to 15°C – rainfall 15mm / month

What food is available on the route?

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A range of general stores, 4 Square supermarkets, cafes, hotels and restaurants are located across the length of the trail and provide various options for lunch and evening meals.

We provide you with a full food and snacks guide that details the various options for each day of your journey. Dietary requirements and food allergies can generally be catered for, though you may need to organise ahead of time if it’s something very specific.

How far are we cycling?

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The Otago Central Rail Trail is 152km in total. You'll complete this over four days, and the distance each day will vary.

The average pace is around 10km/h, but will vary depending on how often you stop for food or scenery. 

The Lake Dunstan Trail, which is an optional addition to this trip, is 42km. 

What support will we have during the ride?

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We have the support of a highly experience tour operator who has been supporting this trip for more than 15 years. 

The ride is self-guided, but the support option is always just a phone call away. That support is available if you need mechanical help or a lift to the next stop. 

Each day, your luggage (up to 15kg) will be transported to your next destination, and will be waiting for you when you arrive.

Is there a single supplement cost?

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The trip cost is $1230 per person, based on twin-share. If you wish to have a room just for yourself, the additional fee is $420.

This does not take into account the Lake Dunstan Trail additional option. 

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Inclusions/exclusions and detailed itinerary.

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