Our Recommendation: Day 1/Night 1
Even with an electric-assist mountain bike (e-bike), cycling the Rail Trail from Middlemarch calls for more planning than starting from Clyde. The reason is Day 1 distances are relatively long and choices of accommodation limited. Or so it seems.
From Middlemarch it’s a gentle 27km climb through the Strath Taieri Valley to Hyde and three accommodation hosts. A further 6km will take you to Tiroiti’s only accommodation and then a further 14.5km to Kokonga and just two places to stay. However, this lack of accommodation is easily overcome by the willingness of accommodation hosts in Waipiata and Ranfurly to, for a very reasonable fee, collect you from Hyde or Kokonga and deliver you back the next day. An additional benefit of doing this is to spend Night 2 at your Waipiata or Ranfurly accommodation.
Setting out from Middlemarch also provides the opportunity to visit the huge, fully operational Oceana Gold Mine on the outskirts of historic Macraes Flat. The hosts of Stanley’s Hotel at Macraes Flat will collect from Hyde and deliver you back the next morning.