The Trail itself is free – and you can also organise your trip so that it doesn’t cost the Earth. Central Otago has some excellent camping grounds, offering a variety of accommodation – or you can choose to stay in backpacker-type hostels or cottages. If you like meeting new people, both of these options are a great way to mix with other like-minded travellers and holiday-makers, and share experiences in a friendly environment.
CAMPING GROUNDS / HOLIDAY PARKS
Several camping grounds are distributed across the region, but you will need to plan your trip accordingly. You can choose to hire a cabin, or tourist flat, or take your own tent. Bathroom and laundry facilities are shared, and you can cater for yourself in the well-equipped communal kitchens. The camps are sited in small townships where you can buy food, which allows you to travel light. Book ahead in the busy season – camps can be found at:
* Clyde Holiday and Sporting Complex
* Alexandra Tourist Park
* Alexandra Holiday Park
* Omakau Recreation Reserve Camping Ground
* Naseby – Larchview Holiday Park
* Ranfurly Holiday Park
* Middlemarch Holiday Park
SELF-CATERING CAMPING GROUNDS
Free camping is allowed at the following sites – facilities are very basic (toilet and water). You will need your own tent and camping gear.
* St Bathans Domain (DOC)
* Waipiata (2 km south beside the Taieri River)
Backpackers and some motels also offer a budget-priced holiday, where you can cater for yourself. They are particularly popular with young people and people travelling on their own – or anyone who wants a more friendly, social experience. The Trail may carry a lot of people on any day – but when they are spread out widely over 152 km, it can be hard to meet many people. Check out:
* Hartley Arms Backpacker, Clyde
* Criterion Club Hotel, Alexandra
* Marj’s Place, Alexandra
* Crow’s Nest, Oturehua
* Old Post Office Backpackers, Ranfurly
* Ranfurly Motels
* Otago Central Hotel, Hyde
Some of the old Country Hotels along the Trail may also offer some budget-priced options, so shop around.