South Island, New Zealand. Clyde (near Queenstown) – Middlemarch (near Dunedin).
151km; rough crushed rock surface.
Mountain bikes, tramping, horse riding.
Major preservation of stations, bridges, tunnels.
Open all year; spectacular scenery.
Guided & self-guided tours, bike hire, accommodation,
Zealand's best known (and most used) rail trail runs along the
formation of the Otago Central Branch Railway which ran from the
port of Dunedin to the Otago goldfields. Construction commenced
in 1879 and – one hundred bridges and thirteen tunnels later – was
The line's useful
life was not much longer than its construction period. Closure
came in 1990 but a 77km section from Dunedin north to Middlemarch
(terminus of the rail trail) operates as the Taieri Gorge Railway
with regular departures.