The 152 km trail runs in an arc through the valleys between Middlemarch and Clyde; you can traverse it in either direction, or just do part of the trail.
You can leave the “starting gates” at Middlemarch, 400 m north of the railway station, while the Clyde terminal (shelter and toilets) is at the corner of Springvale Road and the main highway (next to Trail Journeys). Trailside numbered markers can help you measure your progress in kilometres. You will not be starting at “zero,” as these concrete markers include the original distance of the branch railway line from Wingatui, (south of Dunedin) to Middlemarch – the section still serviced by the Taieri Gorge train – so you will start or end your trip at the 64 km mark at Middlemarch, while the Clyde marker is 215 km.
With road transport support you can join the trail at various places (where there is road access and car parking, etc.) In this way you can choose the best half-day or one-day trip, or simply take advantage of the wind direction… or plan a mostly downhill trip either way from Wedderburn (the highest point).
The following distances will give you an idea of the length of a section – you can estimate the time each will take (average cyclist speed is 10 kph, walking speed is 4-6 kph) but actual times will vary, depending on wind, slopes, rest breaks, etc.)
Cycling Time / Distance in km on the Trail in sections
Clyde Railhead to Alexandra 8 km cycle time – 1 hour
Alexandra to Chatto Creek 17 km 1hr 45
Chatto Creek to Omakau 12 km 1hr 30
Omakau to Lauder 7 km .45
Lauder to Auripo 10.5 km 1hr
Auripo to Oturehua 12 km 1hr
Oturehua to Wedderburn 12 km 1hr 15
Wedderburn to Ranfurly 13.5 km 1hr 30
Ranfurly to Kokonga 18 km 2 hr
Kokonga to Hyde 14.5 km 1hr 30
Hyde to Rock and Pillar 14 km 1hr 30
Rock and Pillar 13.5 km 1hr 15
Road distances – to key points with vehicle access to the Trail - for those who want to meet/drop off/pick up cyclists -
Queenstown to Clyde - 83 km
Dunedin to Clyde - 199 km
Clyde to Middlemarch - 151 km
Clyde to Alexandra - 9 km
Alexandra to Omakau - 27 km
Omakau to Lauder - 7 km
Lauder to Thurlow Road - 27 km
Thurlow Road to Oturehua - 19 km
Oturehua to Wedderburn - 11 km
Wedderburn to Ranfurly - 14 km
Ranfurly to Kokonga - 22 km
Kokonga to Hyde - 13 km
Hyde to Rock and Pillar - 13.8 km
Rock and Pillar to Middlemarch - 14.3 km
Middlemarch to Dunedin - 80 km
Popular Side Trips…
If time allows, you may want to plan a side trip to other attractions in the district – car transport would be of help for more distant sites.
* Naseby is 14 km from Ranfurly by road, 11 km from the Trail
* St Bathans, an old gold mining village (46 km return from Omakau)
* Ophir (historic village) is 5.5 km return from Omakau
* Hamiltons historic cemetery is 18 km return from Waipiata
* Sutton Salt Lake is 23 km return from Middlemarch
* The list of “must-visits” is long – Mitchells stone cottage at Fruitlands, or Matakanui, or Graveyard Gully… the friendly people at the Visitor Centres in Alexandra and Ranfurly will have even more ideas for you.