Lauder - Oturehua

Lauder to Oturehua   Distance: 23 km 

  • The trail crosses the impressive Manuherikia Bridge No. 1 that is 110 metres in length with the Manuherikia stream 14 metres below. 
  • Approximately 10 metres before the entrance of the Poolburn Tunnel No. 2 is a path on the left side with a safety rail. This short path brings you to relics of the Linemen’s Base, used during the rail construction through the Poolburn Gorge.
  • It is hard not to feel for the linesmen who built the railway line with major cuts and the fills to give a steady gradient for the steam trains. This was built with hard physical labour, wheelbarrow, pick, shovel, horse and cart.
  • Continue your journey into the Poolburn Tunnel No. 2 being the longest tunnel on the trail at 229 metres.
  • Although it may not appear so, the tunnel is curved and extremely dark in the centre therefore torches are highly recommended.
  • The 201 metre Poolburn Tunnel No. 1 is further up the gorge.
  • A short distance further on is the Poolburn Viaduct, arguably the most impressive structure on the Rail Trail.
  • The viaduct is supported by large schist stone which Stone Masons crafted to a standard seldom seen today.
  • Look for the information board explaining the history on the eastern (Oturehua) end of the bridge and take a photo of this mighty viaduct.
  • As you descend the Raggedy Range you get brilliant views of the spectacular Hawkdun Mountain Range.
  • After leaving the Poolburn Gorge you reach the original Auripo Station Site. The station has however been removed and now virtually nothing remains.
  • The Ida Valley will open up in front of you. The valley is known for its extremely harsh climate over the winter months and is prone to fog on the valley floor.
  • Be sure to take a look at the original old Ida Valley Railway Hotel which is privately owned but can be viewed fromthe trail or public road.
  • Upon entering the outskirts of Oturehua, you will cross the Ida Valley Road and view what is locally known as the Idaburn Dam, which comes alive in winter when the ice forms and a bonspiel or curling competition takes place.
  • Hayes Engineering, famous for countless inventions is recommended. The historic mud brick buildings are also very photogenic. Hayes Engineering is clearly signposted from the trail and the Ida Valley Road. Look for the windmill.

The Poolburn Gorge is one of the most dramatic sections on the Rail Trail. For this season, it is recommended that cyclists pack snacks and allow for a stop to give them a chance to soak up the tunnel. Take the time to get off your bike and view the Viaduct, the tunnels and the bridge structures.

Poolburn Tunnel No. 1

The Poolburn Tunnel No. 1 is 201 metre.


Idaburn Dam

the Idaburn Dam comes alive in winter when the ice forms and a bonspiel or curling competition takes place.


Original Ida Valley Railway Hotel

The original old Ida Valley Railway Hotel which is privately owned but can be viewed fromthe trail or public road.


Poolburn Viaduct

The Poolburn Viaduct is arguably the most impressive structure on the Rail Trail.


Relics of the Linemen’s Base

Approximately 10 metres before the entrance of the Poolburn Tunnel No. 2 is a path on the left side with a safety rail. This short path brings you to relics of the Linemen’s Base, used during the rail construction through the Poolburn Gorge.


Poolburn Tunnel No. 2

The Poolburn Tunnel No. 2 is the longest tunnel on the trail at 229 metres.


Ida Valley

The valley is known for its extremely harsh climate over the winter months and is prone to fog on the valley floor.


Manuherikia Bridge No. 1

The Manuherikia Bridge No. 1 that is 110 metres in length with the Manuherikia stream 14 metres below. 


The Rail Trail Guide Book

The single most important resource when travelling the Central Otago Rail Trail

A beautifully crafted book with amazing photography by Peter Andrews showing Central Otago as it truly is, one of the most rugged, extreme and beautiful locations on the planet. Stunning scenery, amazing and important historical and current information, detailed maps, lists of accommodation, frequently asked questions, where to eat, how far between towns, etc. It’s all in here.

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