The Otago Rail Trail – Day 1 – New Zealand

Otago Rail Trail - New Zealand

Trains use to chug their way along this route now our bicycles do the chugging.  Leaving the town of Clyde our wheels squish and squelch over rotten apples that lie scattered on the gravel path.

The rows of orchards and vineyards blur as we pedal with excitement and speed.  Small stones fling up in the air and ping off our wheel rims awakening the sleeping insects.

Otago Rail Trail - New Zealand

We stop briefly at Hinton Estates – a local winery for a spot of wine tasting… and it isn’t long before we find ourselves weaving our bicycles merrily through the town of Alexandra!

Otago Rail Trail - New Zealand

The sunny skies have dried the earth and the grasses are tinged yellow as we cycle further into the quiet depths of the landscape, with hidden handfuls of wild flowers wrapping themselves like colourful ribbons through the tarnished grass.  We pause to peek into the cheerful remains of the Galloway railway station, the quaint ladies waiting room.

Otago Rail Trail - New Zealand

A gentle head-on breeze begins to blow as we push ourselves up the first incline… it helps to cool us down.  A rocky landscape looms out of the ground and the rolling landscape below makes the small climb worth it.

Otago Rail Trail - New Zealand

The head wind picks itself up and suddenly begins to blow relentlessly as we descend onto the flat.  Our speed drops dramatically.

Each push of the pedal is an effort and the leg muscles begin to moan and groan.  This is definitely the craziest head wind I have ever experienced on a bicycle.  Like roman gladiators battling with lions we push on and battle furiously

Otago Rail Trail - New Zealand

Eventually the beloved mum becomes exhausted and needs a rest. While we wait for her to get her breath back the boyfriend finds a piece of plastic rope in the grass.  He cleverly ties his bike to his mums bike and bravely tows her all the way to the rustic Chatto Creek Tavern!

Otago Rail Trail - New Zealand

Other cyclists passing us find this scene rather amusing and by the time we reach the pub we find we have become the talk of the day.  We enjoy a bite to eat, a spot of drink and the chance to send a bit of friendly post from New Zealand’s smallest post office!

NZ's Smallest post office Chatto Creek

The long gravel road guides us deeper into the Otago landscape.  The lemon coloured grass blankets the rolling hills while the green pastures below are consumed greedily by contented sheep.

Otago Rail Trail - New Zealand

The wind has finally has returned to a small breeze yet the boyfriend happily continues to tow his beloved mum onwards to the tiny town of Omakau where we take a detour –  A 6km round trip to the historic gold mining settlement of Ophir.

Ophir - New Zealand

Ophir’s main street appears unchanged.  The haunting feel of the past comes alive with each building.Ophir - New Zealand

We whizz over the impressive Daniel O’Connell suspension bridge spanning the beautiful Manuherikia River.  Built in 1880, it is one of the last surviving suspension bridges in Central Otago.

Ophir - New Zealand

Back on the main trail and the dust whips up behind our wheels.  The evening sun warms our backs as we pedal through green pastures, over bumpy cattle stops and are stopped by a couple of squealing pigs wanting to make friends!

Lauder - New Zealand

The night sky begins to glows red as we pedal into the proud township of Lauder.  We discover our accommodation is fully booked, but our hosts give us an entire house next door for the night?

We spend the evening enjoying the jolly hospitality at the Lauder Pub while filling our hungry stomachs and looking forward to day two…

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10 Responses to The Otago Rail Trail – Day 1 – New Zealand

  1. Squish-squelch! What a wonderfully visceral way to begin a post!– which was one of your all-time best, and that’s sayin’ something! Ping, ping, and the rudely awakened insects are buzzin’ and chirpin’! Loved the beautifully carved wine barrels, and the “hidden handfuls of wild flowers wrapping themselves like colourful ribbons through the tarnished grass.” Ding!! The judges are holding up 10’s for that turn of phrase and that superb photo!! (great depth of field– literally!!)

    Rocks looming outta the ground, NZ’s smallest P.O., “lemon coloured grass,” that stone bridge with the cool circular opening, those wonderful old pristine buildings– clearly one of your best photo essays augmented with your unique and delightful prose– take a bow, sir, take a bow!! : )

    • lovethybike says:

      Mark, I would have to say this day of cycling was one worth bowing for…Great to hear your thoughts on my written word. I am sure all your other blog writers must love it went they get comments from you? it is like opening a treasure box full of delights! I look forward to your next visitation.

  2. jimonabike says:

    What a fascinating place, it’s like going straight back in time.

  3. just amazing!!! i hope to have the possibility to go there in the future.

  4. Tahoe Sux says:

    Great pics and story as usual. Love the train archway!

  5. oh that is one incredible bicycle ride and such dazzle in your words

  6. maru clavier says:

    Nice, very, very nice…

  7. kirisyko says:

    Reblogged this on Sykose.

  8. Thanks for this report. The Otago Rail Trail is high on my ‘to do ‘ list.

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