Going all 153km, which end to start?
Clyde gets our vote. It’s closest to Queenstown International Airport and provides some pretty flat riding to help you find your pedalling legs – whether it’s just the 8km to Alexandra, going the extra 12km to Chatto Creek or making a day of it by wending up the Tiger Hill incline (www.otagorailtrail.co.nz/chatto-creek-to-omakau#map ) to Omakau/Ophir (37km from Clyde) and Lauder (44km from Clyde). The prevailing wind from the west is another reason for Clyde, not that starting from Middlemarch isn’t without its pluses. One of the most memorable ways to begin a Rail Trail experience is the two hour train journey from Dunedin to Pukerangi/Middlemarch on board the Taieri Gorge Railway (www.Dunedinrailways.co.nz). Rated one of the world’s great train journeys, taking this train from Middlemarch/Pukerangi to Dunedin is a wonderful finale to cycling the trail all the way from Clyde. Middlemarch itself has a surprisingly large number of accommodation options and attractions.