About Our Trail

NZ's Original Great Ride

New Zealands’s first Rail Trail and Original Great Ride opened in 2000, the 152km long trail follows the former route of the Otago Central Railway. The former railway line was ideal for New Zealand’s first off-road cycle-way and walking trail.

In 1993 the Department of Conservation (DOC) bought the corridor for a recreational reserve. The Otago Central Rail Trail Trust was formed in 1994 to partner the Department, helping raise funds to initially open the Trail. This included the removal of ballast, decking the bridges, improving the culverts and adding handrails. The Rail Trail officially opened fully in 2000 and the teamwork between the Trust and DOC has continued. DOC undertakes the maintenance, while the Trust upgrades the Trail facilities, such as toilets, information boards and shelters, as well as the funding of trail resurfacing. The success of this innovative project inspired the government in 2010 to set up the New Zealand Cycle Trails, and support the development of similar trails around the country.