Women’s Adventures NZ organised this tour Over Queen’s birthday weekend – June 2012 Auckland based Debbie Goldingham writes of her trip with 8 other women on the Otago Rail Trail.
We all met at Queenstown airport and were picked up in a shuttle van by Steve from Shebikeshebikes and taken to our accommodation in Clyde. A very cold frosty foggy morning greeted us on our first day of the trail. We were bundled up in layers of thermals, with thick socks, gloves, balaclavas and jackets and we all thawed out by about lunchtime! Although it was cold, it was also simply stunning in a bleak, wintery wonderland kind of way and it seemed a fitting start to our “winter” rail trail.
We were all pretty knackered as we sat and had a lovely big meal at the cosy Lauder Hotel just over the road from our accommodation at the Lauder Rail Trail School. A few of us had just had a lovely long soak in the outdoor spa pool, running across the frosty grass to get to it! We had biked 50km from Clyde with a side trip to Ophir for lunch and we were looking forward to our beds.
The next morning we got up to a warm fire crackling away and a lovely continental breakfast set up ready to go. Bruce, the host, strummed away on his ukulele as we “fuelled our tanks” ready for another day of cycling.
The landscape of Central Otago seems to be one third land and two thirds sky. Our accommodation for 2 nights was here at Oturehua Lodge. This is such a lovely place to stay. Sitting around the fire, sipping on beautiful Central Otago wines after a long soak in the spa….just perfect!
The next day we had a day out sightseeing. Geoff from Oturehua Lodge took us all out in his van.
We went curling at Naseby and discovered what a “cool’ game this is and how competitive we all were! Then we had lunch at the famous Dansey’s Pass Hotel. A big old pub at the top of the pass with a huge open fireplace, lots of comfy couches where you feel like you could just stay all day. In fact for a lot of winter it’s snowed in so there is a chance you could end up staying there longer than you expect!
A very cold frosty start the next morning
meant scrapping all the ice off our frozen bike seats!
Our next night’s accommodation was at Peter’s Farm, a big old farmhouse that has been in Peter’s family for years. Peter took us our sightseeing around the local area and gave us a lot of the local history.
Some of the accommodation at Peter’s Farm is in these quaint little outdoor sheds beautifully done up inside, lovely and warm and cosy with an outdoor bath tub. We saw beautiful cloud formations across the big expansive Central Otago sky……what we didn’t realise was that these were a precursor to the heavy snow that fell the day after we left!
Café stops were always really looked forward to on the trip. This unique coffee was just delightful at the end of the last day on trail when we arrived in Middlemarch. We had biked 150km through some of the most stunning landscape in New Zealand.
We had wined and dined on the most gorgeous wine and food (they really know how to do posh nosh down there) and we had shared lots of laughter, stories and ups and downs of each day. You can bike the Otago Rail Trail with me again next year.
I will be planning one in early Jan and in Queen’s Birthday weekend. It is quite literally an adventure of a lifetime and one that you will never forget! Women’s Adventures NZ
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