the otago Central Rail traiL
& Local Activities

The Otago Central Rail Trail



 Once the route of a bustling railway line, the Rail Trail is a 150km gravel path for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. It's gentle gradient has no steep hills, and takes 3-5 days to complete starting in either direction.  The many friendly small towns along the way offer good food and accommodation. Make sure to spend a night or two with us in Lauder on your travels!


This is New Zealand’s first Rail Trail and it will take you across old wooden trestle bridges and viaducts, past schist rock, parched hills, tussock grasses, awesome gorge scenery and spectacular mountains, through farmlands and tunnels to historic landmarks, goldfields and pioneer settlements.


  Lauder is the perfect spot from which to set out on half day or day rides on the Rail Trail. Within only 7km of Lauder you'll experience some of the most spectacular and historical aspects of the trail:

  • A view of the Niwa dome

  • Manuherikia No 1 bridge - the longest bridge of the trail  

  • Poolburn Tunnels No. 2 and No. 1

  • Poolburn Viaduct 


At Lauder Store we offer BIKE HIRE  (&helmets)  to guests (at a reduced rate) and other cyclists.

Just turn up, hire a bike and take off on a riding adventure. 

Otago Central Rail Trail - Lauder Station 583x372 - Photo copyright Home At First
Lauder Store
Otago Central Rail Trail - Steph finishes crossing Manuherikia No. 1 Bridge - 583x372 - Photo copyri

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Dining in & around LaudeR

Within walking distance from Lauder Store Accommodation you'll find Lauder Hotel and Stationside Cafe. Lauder Hotel is directly across the road from us, and is well worth a visit for it's genuine country welcome along with great meals and local wines. Stationside Café, is another minute or so away, right on the RailTrail. They serve delicious home baking and excellent coffee, as well as a range of delicious breakfast and lunch options.


Within ten minutes drive you'll find a great selection of dining options in Omakau and historic Ophir. The hosts at Becks Hotel, Blacks Hotel (Ophir) or Omakau Hotel will offer free transportion in their courtesy vans.


We can provide information and directions to beautiful and historically significant sites and towns in our local area. For example you may enjoy day or half day trips to St Bathans, Ophir, Naseby, the Lower Manorburn Dam, Conroys Dam, Alexandra, Clyde, Clyde River Trail, Clyde Hydro-Dam, and many other attractions including those listed below.

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Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead

Marvel at a fully operational Victorian workshop where Ernest Hayes invented devices still used today, and imagine his wife Hannah, in full skirts and corset, pedalling through Central Otago selling them!

Naseby curling rink

If you’ve considered trying curling, but thought it looked too difficult, think again! Indoor Curling is a lot easier than you may think! Forget the professionals - Curling is for everyone! Bring your whole family and head down to the rink. 

Maniototo 4WD Safaris & Tours

With Maniototo 4wd Safaris you can experience the spectacular scenery and ‘big skies’ of the rugged tussock lands of our high country as well as visiting many picturesque and historical places and goldfields on the Maniototo plain. 


It's known as the hottest, driest and coldest town in New Zealand, and it's because of those extremes that Alexandra, in Central Otago, is a popular destination for national and international visitors.With Maniototo 4wd Safaris you can experience the spectacular scenery and ‘big skies’ of the rugged tussock lands of our high country as well as visiting many picturesque and historical places and goldfields on the Maniototo plain. 


An entire weekend celebrating the arrival of spring, the festival celebrates it's 60th year in 2016. Celebrations will take place on the weekend of 22nd September in 2016.

alexandra thyme festival

The Alexandra Thyme Festival, held in November, in Pioneer Park, Alexandra, is a week which celebrates the arts and sustainability with the theme of Cherishing our Environment.

Clyde wine & food harvest festival

The festival is Central Otago’s biggest celebration of locally produced wines and is held every year on Easter Sunday. From humble beginnings when about five wineries took part, the festival has grown over the years with more than 20 wine producers now attending.

how about something local?


take a dip in the outdoor pool in Ophir, the indoor pool in Omakau or the Manuherikia River.


Try your luck at fishing in the Manuherikia River or one of the local dams (check local fishing laws first). 


Enjoy a round of golf at the 9 hole Omakau Golf Course. Clubs/carts for hire. 

lawn bowls

Roll up at the Omakau Bowling Club. Bowls available. 

four wheel driving

Discover four wheel driving on one of the many local tracks and roads. 


Photograph the stunning Central Otago scenery or the amazing night sky. 

travel times to central otago towns

omakau - 5 mins

ranfurly - 35 mins

alexandra & clyde - 25 mins

cromwell - 40 mins

wanaka & hawea - 1hr & 20mins

queenstown - 1 hr & 30 mins

Lauder Store Accommodation

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