Otago Rail Trail Day 2

March 26th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar


Started off around 9 am and popped into the cafe at Lauder to get some food to eat while as 21 kms to the next cafe.


A rare bridge that is curved!


The view from the bridge.


At times the scenery looks like you are in the US West. On the first day we saw an actual cowboy – well a guy on a horse with cowboy hat and neckerchief. I observed this section would be ideal for an ambush by Indians!


This is the former campsite of the tunnel makers.


And the first of two tunnels. You are advised to use a torch and to walk through. I did neither 🙂

It is a bit scary in the middle, as you really can’t see anything but a distant light and if one did ride into the wall it would be very painful!

After this it started to rain and rain heavily. We got soaked. Even worse it was raining from above and below. In the stretch before Oturehua it was basically a five km long puddle, which with no mudguards just sprayed water upwards non stop. My feet got drenched.

We had an early lunch at Oturehua. The plan was to lunch at Wedderburn but we needed hot soup and pasta now. Dried off slightly, and then headed back onto the trail with it raining even harder. Fair to say we’re all wet, cold and a bit miserable.

But then after half an hour or so, the rain (mainly) stopped. This was very welcome!


Those old bridges are like human vibrators. Very jarring as you go over them, but fun.


A cute tint cottage in the trees.


And finally after a long slog up the hill, we’re at the highest point. There’s snow on the hills in the distance and it is damn cold.


Downhills are fun! Less so on gravel. When doing 30 km/hr you really don’t want to fall onto gravel. Luckily I didn’t, but one close skid.

We stopped in Wedderburn for a drink at the pub and warmed up some more. We’re all still pretty cold so we decided that would be our last stop and just do the final 31 kms to Kokonga in one go.


Don’t think I’ll swim in that one.



Finally got to the very welcoming Kokonga Lodge.Peter Jackson stayed here when filming, and you can see why. Superb food and hospitality and a great fireplace.

In the shower my ankles were itching madly. Finally worked out it wasn’t craft insect bites, but the legs thawing out!

Had a very nice dinner, but was so exhausted I fell asleep at 9 pm. It was a hard 64 kms of riding with the weather, and we had a head on wind for the last 5 kms.

The final day is just 42 kms, but we have to be at Middlemarch by midday so an early start.

5 Responses to “Otago Rail Trail Day 2”

  1. peterwn (4,287 comments) says:

    ODT had an April Fool article a few years ago. It said that so much freight was being transported into Central that the tracks were going to be re-laid and rail-trail-ers would have to share the trail with the trains.

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  2. gravedodger (1,704 comments) says:

    David, I think the Pink dam was probably a bloom of lake weed and quite clean water within.

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  3. Tauhei Notts (2,366 comments) says:

    I think Oturehua is the driest place in NZ and when you got there it was persisting down.
    Bad luck!

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  4. lolitasbrother (1,331 comments) says:

    Otago Farrar, you gotta be tough, best Landscapes in New Zealand,I do it in Holden sleep in the back

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  5. Ed Snack (2,795 comments) says:

    That lodge looks pretty comfortable, but don’t trust their temperature estimates. Summer from 15-30 degrees, we went in late December and had around 5 degrees air temperature on December 31, and then there was wind-chill. Don’t know how you managed to skid though, we came barrelling down off the top to Wedderburn and the next day through to Ranfurly at a good pace without a problem. After Ranfurly (just my older son and I riding this day) my son managed to find a largish rock in the middle of the trail and did a fairly neat somersault, luckily resulting in just a few abrasions.

    It’s quite a nice section through to Hyde, you sort of follow the river down part of the way, a bit of a climb as I recall before descending to Hyde. Then it’s largely downhill to Rock & Pillar (where we quit suffering from the first stages of hypothermia), and flattish to Middlemarch. Doing it in 3 days would be a good way to go actually, but when you need to encourage an 11 years old to keep going adding in the extra day makes it less of a strain.

    Where to next ?

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