Otago Central Rail Trail

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Otago Central Rail Trail

Postby whynotwalk » Mon 10 Nov, 2014 9:20 am

OCRT2.jpg
OCRT1.jpg


This post isn't about tramping, or even camping, but I thought some of you might be interested in NZ's Otago Central Rail Trail. My wife and I had been thinking about doing this since 2006, when we spent 3 months living in Dunedin. Central Otago is one of those places you tend to rush through on the way to Fiordland or the Aspiring area for more exciting tramping or climbing trips. We finally decided to explore "Central" more slowly via NZ's oldest rail trail, the 150km+ Otago Central Rail Trail.

We took a leisurely 5 days during mid October to ride the trail, and I'd have to say we were very impressed. The countryside is mostly rolling rather than rugged, yet there were always snow-capped ranges somewhere in sight. The riding isn't particularly challenging - at least for the readers of this forum - but you end each day with a good glow. And the hospitality, accommodation, food and wine in Central is brilliant. Yep - a highly recommended trip.

I'm part way through writing it up on my blog. If you'd like to read more, start here http://www.naturescribe.com/2014/10/much-anticipated-events-can-have-edge.html and then click "Newer Posts" at the bottom.

cheers

Peter
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Otago Central Rail Trail

Postby RonK » Mon 10 Nov, 2014 12:56 pm

Nice ride - and the Taieri Gorge Scenic train is good too.

I rode the first half of the rail trail from Middlemarch to Ranfurly before turning north to cross Dansey's Pass, and was impressed with the way it's run.

Planning to go back with my wife to ride the full distance when we have a week to spare.
Last edited by RonK on Mon 10 Nov, 2014 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Otago Central Rail Trail

Postby whynotwalk » Mon 10 Nov, 2014 1:32 pm

RonK wrote:Nice ride - and the Taieri Gorge Scenic train is good too.


Yes - we'd been on the Taeri Gorge train before, but still enjoyed that at the end of our ride.

was impressed with the way it's run. Planning to go back with my wife to ride the full distance hen we have a week to spare.


Sounds like a good plan Ron. I would only avoid the height of summer, as it can get baking hot in Central. And agree that it's well run. The whole community along the ribbon of track seems on-side with the rail trail, from friendly farmers to story-telling accommodation owners and shop keepers. In return the trail provides quite a few of them with livelihoods.

cheers

Peter
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Re: Otago Central Rail Trail

Postby icefest » Mon 10 Nov, 2014 4:11 pm

I've been following your blog for a while Peter. Thanks for making it available via RSS - and thanks for all the fish posts.
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful.
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Re: Otago Central Rail Trail

Postby whynotwalk » Tue 11 Nov, 2014 7:04 am

Thanks for that icefest. Occasionally it feels like I'm posting into a vacuum, so I always appreciate feedback.

cheers

Peter
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Re: Otago Central Rail Trail

Postby wayno » Wed 12 Nov, 2014 1:39 pm

as a result of the success of the Otago rail trail. a no of other cycleways have been setup around the country. some more remote than others.. some are more wine and food trails... the govt made 50 million available to the regions to develop trails.
some are hilly although they usually dont turn into hard out mountain bike grade tracks, there is the odd exception, choose your poison...

http://www.nzcycletrail.com/

if only the govt had put as much money into walking tracks instead of the 5 million they gave to te araroa and taking 50 million from DOC's budget, mutter mutter.. :evil:
from the land of the long white clouds...

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Re: Otago Central Rail Trail

Postby whynotwalk » Sun 16 Nov, 2014 3:19 pm

wayno wrote:if only the govt had put as much money into walking tracks instead of the 5 million they gave to te araroa and taking 50 million from DOC's budget, mutter mutter.. :evil:


A common dilemma wayno. The same argument has been made for the 3 Capes Track here. But having a little involvement with both the OCRT and the 3 Capes, and having spent an evening in discussion with Geoff Chapple, the man behind Te Araroa, I wonder whether such "grand plans" might function as nuclei around which other walks/rides/whatevers can generate. And could they lift the overall level of interest in self-powered outdoor experiences in general?

Anyway I loved the Otago trip, and have now finished blogging about the final day. http://www.naturescribe.com/2014/11/otago-central-rail-trail-part-5.html It's funny how a ride or a walk can get you reflecting on the highs and lows of life,

cheers

Peter
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Otago Central Rail Trail

Postby RonK » Sun 16 Nov, 2014 3:37 pm

wayno wrote:if only the govt had put as much money into walking tracks instead of the 5 million they gave to te araroa and taking 50 million from DOC's budget, mutter mutter.. :evil:

It would always be nice to have more, but it seems to me that walkers are already well catered for in NZ.

Developing the cycling trails opens up a whole new market opportunity to generate tourism income.

Bikepacking is a growth phenomenon and I know there is a lot of talk about preparations to visit NZ happening on the bikepacking web sites I also frequent.

Interest in the Kiwi Brevet, the Great Southern Brevet and the proposed Tour Atearoa is very high.
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Re: Otago Central Rail Trail

Postby wayno » Sun 16 Nov, 2014 3:48 pm

walkers in NZ are being less well catered for as time goes on... its taken a lot of protests to halt DOC ripping out hundreds of huts from the back country.. not to mention bridges.
DOC sink a lot of money into a small percentage of tracks where the money is and the rest of the tracks struggle to get enough maintenance, a lot of tracks in nz have needed a lot of maintenance to even exist..
the govt just puts its money where they will get a return financially, not thinking about the better health of NZers that was historically generated by the extensive tramping infrastructure.
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Re: Otago Central Rail Trail

Postby whynotwalk » Sun 23 Nov, 2014 7:17 pm

Hi again - finally completed my posts on the Otago Central Rail Trail. I reckon there are more reasons for doing the trail than cycling, and that's probably the secret to its success. And ... just maybe ... it could be the secret to the future success for walking tracks too.

Anyway these are some of my thoughts http://www.naturescribe.com/2014/11/off-rails-otago-central-rail-trail.html

cheers

Peter
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