Our Recommendation: Day 2/Night 2
Where Day 2 begins with climbing Tiger Hill, we recommend pedaling no further than Oturehua for your second night’s stopover. An interesting accommodation option when making Oturehua your destination for Night 2 is St Bathans, although tis is more of an option when you have an accompanying vehicle.
However, where your second day starts out from Omakau, Ophir or even Lauder, do consider spending time exploring Oturehua before cycling 12 km to Wedderburn for Night 2.
Another off-trail option for Night 2 is Naseby where your accommodation hosts will organise a shuttle service to collect you from the Rail Trail and deliver you back in the morning. Staying the night in Naseby you have no excuses for not doing the Rail Trail ‘must-do’ … curling at the year round international indoor rink.
A highlight of Day 2 is the Poolburn Gorge with its curved concrete bridge just out of Lauder, two long tunnels (don’t forget to bring a torch) and lofty railway viaduct not to mention stunning views and the chance of spying a NZ native falcon, Karearea, the world’s fastest diving bird of prey.
After the ride across the floor of the Ida Valley, Oturehua is rather like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Here is the Ida Dam that freezes over for outdoor curling, Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead with something for both men and women, New Zealand’s longest serving general store and the amazing Golden Progress Mine with Otago’s last remaining wooden gantry (‘Poppet head’) standing 14 metres tall over a 46 metre shaft. If you didn’t get time to explore Oturehua on arrival, do make time in the morning before setting out on Day 3.
Click on the tabs below for info on the trail and distances between them.