Friday 7th – Otago Central Rail Trail

The pain!

As ever we were up and out early to drive to where we were picking up our bikes and starting the trail, a tiny place called Lauder.

Essentially it has a café (with amazing coffee and what looked like delicious cakes) and that’s pretty much it apart from some bike racks!

We had given our heights earlier so the bikes came set up for each of us, helmet each, told to take our sunglasses off in the tunnels (makes it far less dark!), try not to look over the sides of the gorges as people tend to then steer into them and all we had to do was remember to stop at Wedderburn, Wedderburn, Wedderburn about 32km away!

As we’d got coffee we started after everyone else (had to wait for it to cool!), but soon caught them up.

The route, being an old railway line, was pretty flat, but was mostly v gently uphill. We cycled through beautiful countryside, rolling hills, sheep, cows, horses, hares, alpacas and a v dry landscape – big difference from the previous NZ green.

My main difficulty with the ride was continuing saddle-related pain from the previous cycle in Queenstown, the v bumpy surface and bumpy bridges – I soon got into the swing of standing whenever possible, but sitting back down was then a challenge!!

We stopped for a coffee break at Hayes, an old engineering place, more good coffee and they made their staff dress up in Victorian-esque costume.

It was just after 12 when we set off to do the remaining 12km and you could feel the heat of the day, not roasting but still nice and warm.

We had a noticeably steeper climb up until we reached the highest point of the route and then an awesome 3.5km downhill to Wedderburn (top speed 35.5km/h – then I got scared and slowed down!)

Was a great way to end the ride. Then, in an awesome NZ way, we just left the bikes in the racks, hung helmets on the handlebars and walked back down the hill to the pub.

Had a good afternoon chilling in the pub, eating the packed lunches we’d made, catching up on admin, travel plans, blogs etc etc before it was time for dinner.

Oh and I received an invitation from Nikki’s mum to join them again this year and take part in the Major Series – an awesome off road race organised by British Military Fitness in October – of course I said yes, so I’m going to be home by then!!

The food looked amazing and seeing all the others meals come out I was disappointed in my choice of veggie pasta bake, but it was delicious – disappointment over!

We also had to say goodbye to Max as our new driver arrived, Snowflake! Max headed back to his group in Queenstown and Snowflake had come all the way from National Park to join us for the remainder of the journey.

Once we’d all eaten we headed to the lodge where some of the guys were staying for some ceilidh dancing. Andrew our resident Scotsman had promised to teach one of the girls some dancing. We had a good strip the willow, and a small set of another dance before it started properly raining and enthusiasm waned – we were dancing outside due to lack of room inside!! Andrew and I did a brief Gay Gordon, but my overly enthusiastic twirrrrling made me too dizzy to continue!

We made our way back to the pub in the rain and off to bed before another early start.


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