The Otago Central Rail Trail spans 152km across some of the most amazing, expansive scenery in the world. Central Otago is home to a well-preserved gold heritage, undulating mountainous landscapes, and productive farmland. Scattered across the Rail Trail and the highway that follows a similar route are friendly townships, welcoming pubs, historic bridges and fairy tale, schist buildings that have been happily sitting there for 100 years, nestled amongst tor-studded land in the region of New Zealand that experiences the most extreme temperatures in the country.
Central Otago captured my heart when I visited for a week to walk the Otago Central Rail Trail in November. So much so that I returned a couple of weeks ago for a short road trip following the Rail Trail from Dunedin to Cromwell and back. The adventure was very different in a car. We didn’t die from the heat and there was a great advantage of being able to visit small townships just off the trail easily. Yet, the scenery was just as breath-taking and dramatic. People seem more focused on the important things in life in the South Island and the pace of life and scenery remind me of this quote I love by Eddie Cantor. “Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why”.
This is a collection of my favourite landscape and scenery photos of Otago Central Rail Trail. They are in order from Clyde to Middlemarch. I hope you enjoy them!
Worn old door on a building in Clyde that is now an antique store but was once a shop for the odd combo of a Builder/Undertaker!
Between Clyde and Chatto Creek
Chatto Creek Tavern was such a welcoming place to stumble into after walking 26km from Clyde. The country-style, ridiculous sized portions have won many an award and the décor of the pub is quite interesting. I would love to the know the story behind this interesting piece of attire…
If New Zealand had a heart this is what I think it would look like. A gorgeous dairy farm framed by rugged mountains.
“Who has not sat before his own heart’s curtain? It lifts: and the scenery is falling apart”. Rainer Maria Wilke
Heading towards Wedderburn
This is my absolute favourite pic from along the Otago Central Rail Trail. Taken from Wedderburn Cottages; I love the juxtaposition of a manmade, oversized chess board against the stunning natural mountains.
It was a very grey start to the day as we passed by Wedderburn Station. But it soon cleared up!
They pin some odd things to fences in the South Island!
Check out this lake! It is in the tiny, tiny, tiny town of St Bathans which is just off the rail trail and is my new favourite place. Aptly named Blue Lake it is a man-made lake formed from gold sluicing and it’s colour is gorgeous set against the white cliffs. Camping here has been added to my wanderlist!!
Ranfurly is one of the main towns along the Rail Trail and is well-known in New Zealand for it’s Art Deco heritage and also the quality of Rugby players that have come from here. This building was once a milk bar but now houses a unique Art Deco museum.
Battling winds and the heat it was a celebratory moment when we saw the Otago Central Hyde Hotel. No longer an operating pub the bar has been replaced with an outstanding schist fireplace.
Middlemarch Station was the ending point of our 152km journey on foot. But the adventure wasn’t over as we boarded the Taieri Gorge Railway train for the final leg to Dunedin.
I’d love to know which pic was your favourite? Let me know in the comments section below.
My post on Walking the Otago Central Rail Trail over a week can be found here.
Please visit the below websites for more information:
- Otago Central Rail Trail Charitable Trust
- Otago Rail Trail
- Department of Conservation – Otago Central Rail Trail
Recommended booklet to take on the trail
- Otago Centrail Rail Trail by Brian and Diane Miller – More info here
No photos are to be used without permission. Thank you