Central Otago Rail Trail – Lauder to Waipiata

Day two cycling the Central Otago Rail Trail, a former railway line turned into a ~150km cycle trail. This was the most scenic and historic day, riding between Lauder and Waipiata. After a scorching hot first day Central Otago lived up to its saying that “if you don’t like the weather just wait half an hour”. Overnight rain cooled the temperature and stuck around for the start of the day, turning to patchy blue skies by the afternoon.

Soon after leaving Lauder there was the first of several impressive viaducts to cross.

This section of the Rail Trail passes though the attractive Poolburn Gorge.

With a couple of decent tunnels to walk through.

I then spotted Uranus, part of appropriately spaced out planets along the Rail Trail into and out of Ranfurly, which was a welcome new addition since I first rode the trail in 2015.

I visited Hayes Engineering Works & Homestead for the third time. Established by the Hayes family in the late 19th century, it was a successful family business supporting farms, and is one of the most popular Heritage New Zealand sites.

The homestead offered a great snapshot into the past, and made me realise how much stuff we have today to fill our larger houses.

After this I passed the highest point on the Rail Trail, which was a relief as the uphill gradient and headwind was eating my battery. It would be basically downhill from here to the end at Middlemarch.

Some photos of the trail, it’s easy cycling and wide enough to ride two abreast.

Wedderburn was a good spot to stop at the Tavern for some food.

The landscape changed heading into Ranfurly, a much more bustling place than I remember thanks to the growth of the Rail Trail.

Some of the best landscape scenery of the ride followed heading toward Waipiata.

I stayed, as I did in 2015, at the Tussock Lodge in Waipiata.

The views from the lodge were ever changing with the weather.

Author: jontycrane

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