Otago Central Rail Trail

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Otago Central Rail Trail: Our most recommended tours and activities

Otago Winery Tour with Gourmet Wine & Food-Paired Lunch

1. Otago Winery Tour with Gourmet Wine & Food-Paired Lunch

Make the most of your stay in Queenstown with this half-day wine and food experience for an unforgettable taste of Central Otago’s wine region. Enjoy a winery lunch consisting of several tasting dishes each perfectly matched by the Chief Winemaker and Head Chef, using estate wines and fresh local produce. Indulge in wine tasting and presentations at 3 wineries, visiting one larger well-known winery and two boutique style wineries. The tour also includes a wine cave tour and tasting, providing you with an insight into the local great wines and the Central Otago wine industry.

Shotover River: Extreme Jet Boat Experience

2. Shotover River: Extreme Jet Boat Experience

Take on the ultimate jet boat experience on the Shotover River for a breathtaking ride through dramatic and narrow canyons, located less than a 10-minutes drive from Queenstown. A short drive from Queenstown will have you at the shores of the Shotover River. Meet your experienced guide and gear up for your high-speed jet boat ride. Hold on tight as the driver expertly navigates the jet boat over white-water rapids and squeezes through the narrow walls of the Shotover Canyon. Speed past rocky outcrops, skim around boulders, and zip through the dramatic and narrow canyons as its walls tower above you. After 25 thrilling minutes, return to the jet base and relax on the shuttle transfer back to Queenstown.

Boutique Winery Half-Day Tour & Vineyard Platter-Style Lunch

3. Boutique Winery Half-Day Tour & Vineyard Platter-Style Lunch

Discover Central Otago and some of its world-class wines on this small group tour. Accompanied by an experienced and knowledgeable wine guide, you will visit a selection of the region’s premium vineyards, taste a range of fine wines, and enjoy a gourmet platter-style lunch. A maximum group size of ten adults ensures the pace of the tour is relaxed and informative with time to learn about the early history, master the art of wine appreciation, and visit the historic Old Cromwell Town. Central Otago is a remarkable region in New Zealand. It is steeped in early pioneering history, has rugged spectacular scenery, produces some of New Zealand’s tastiest stone fruits, and has now become renowned for its outstanding wines. Pinot Noir is the real star of the region but there are many outstanding examples of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Departing at 11:00, you will venture through the rugged Kawarau Gorge to visit 4 of the region’s finest boutique vineyards in the Bannockburn and the Gibbston Valley sub regions. Lunch is provided in the peaceful setting of Carrick Winery, overlooking the Bannockburn Inlet of Lake Dunstan. This tour is a great introduction to the region’s wine, history, culture, and fine cuisine, and makes a great afternoon out from Queenstown. Upgrade your experience by adding a jet boat ride or 9 holes of golf.

Otago Central Rail Trail E-Bike Self-Guided Cycling Trail

4. Otago Central Rail Trail E-Bike Self-Guided Cycling Trail

In Clyde, you are fitted with your E-bike and briefed for your tour. Your driver will then take you to Auripo, on the way go through historic Ophir crossing one of New Zealand’s most iconic bridges, the Daniel O Connell Bridge. Built in the 1880's, Lord of the Rings fans may recognise it and your driver will give you a full commentary on all things local on the way. On arrival at Auripo, you will cycle off down the trail to the Poolburn Gorge. First up is the 40m high Railway Viaduct, closely followed by 2 tunnels. You will then cross the longest bridge on the Trail, and find little village of Lauder with the original train station (returned to the original spot after years of fundraising) awaits. From Lauder continues onto Omakau, from here you can add on a short detour to Ophir, check out New Zealand’s oldest operating Post Office, cross the historic stone bridge and re-join the Trail in Omakau. Crossover Tiger Hill and earn a drink at a local country hotel, before following the Manuherikia River to Alexandra. Then it is back via Rail Trail to Clyde or divert through Alexandra and follow the stunning River track back to Clyde.

Otago: Rail Trail Self-Guided Biking Experience

5. Otago: Rail Trail Self-Guided Biking Experience

Feel the breeze through your hair and explore Otago by bike with this unique self-guided tour. After arriving at your meeting point and being fitted with a bike, you will set off to discover this stunning part of New Zealand. To kick off your tour, a driver will take you on a 45-minute journey to your drop off point in Auripo. On the way, you will pass through the historic town of Ophir, crossing one of New Zealand's most iconinc bridges built in the 1880s. As you travel, learn about all things local from your experienced driver/ guide.  After arriving in Auripo, you will head off down the cycle trail into the Poolburn Gorge. Enjoy a spectacular ride over a 40 meter high railway viaduct, through tunnels and across the longest bridge on the trail. Stop off for a delicious coffee at the Stationside Café before reaching the quaint village of Lauder with its original train station.  Once you reach Omakau, you can take a short detour to Ophir and visit New Zealand's oldest operating post office. After rejoining the trail near Domain, pedal up Tiger Hill before cycling along the beautiful banks of the Manuherikia River. Take your time to enjoy everything the region has to offer by simply riding back to your starting location. 

Other Sightseeing Options in Otago Central Rail Trail

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What people are saying about Otago Central Rail Trail

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 90 reviews

We were taken by our lovely and knowledgeable guide, Eva, to the three wineries - Kinross, Mt Rosa and Gibbston Valley. Sam at Kinross was very informative and friendly, our wine tasting and pairings with lovely small lunch was delicious. The cave at Gibbston Valley was awesome and the guided tour was wonderful and informative. Recommend all three wineries and the tour highly! Was a highlight of our trip to Queenstown.

Very enjoyable half day touring two winery regions and a total of 3 wineries plus one brewery. Very informative and knowledgeable staff at each venue who were obviously passionate about their product. Lunch was delicious too. Gary our tour guide for the day did an excellent job relaying informative stories about the history and geology of the region all delivered with a quick wit. A brilliant day out

Tour was amazing. The food portion for lunch was a little but the full experience is amazing Recommendable!

Very well organized our guide had excellent knowledge and was engaging throughout exceeded expectations

Great food and great wine - our guide Angus was great