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Rail Trail: Day 1 to Lauder

A fine day greeted us as we walked over to the bike shop to pick up our transportation for the next few days. We had engaged the services of a company through which we could rent bikes, book accommodation, and also get our bags forwarded. Brilliant.

Our bikes were customised for the Rail Trail; practical steeds equipped with bike stands and frames for attaching panniers. With all my dismounting for photos along the way I actually grew very fond of the bike stand, though Mike said I’d be riding by myself if I got one back in Wellington. Perhaps not the coolest accessory then.

Neither was my camera bag which I attached to the front of my bike with a bungee cord. But for me the convenience factor far outweighed any concern about looking like a dork.

We acquainted ourselves with the bikes on the short ride over to the railhead at Clyde Station – ‘km 0’.

The Rail Trail starts here!

The Rail Trail starts here!

One excellent component of the Rail Trail experience is the passport. You can buy these little booklets for $10 and collect a stamp from each station along the way. Most of the proceeds from each passport goes toward the upkeep of the trail.

Our Rail Trail passport with stamps diligently collected

Our Rail Trail passport with stamps diligently collected

We collected our first stamp and got going. Today we would be cycling 44km through to Lauder.

One bridge down - about 66 to go

One bridge down – about 66 to go

Starting to get amongst the Central Otago-ness

Starting to get amongst the Central Otago-ness

Action shot!

Action shot!

Our next stamp from nearby Alexandra wasn’t as straightforward thanks to the removal of the stamp from its wee box by local idiots. We detoured into town to the visitor centre where a stamp could be acquired and also collected lunch supplies.

Off we went again with station stops at Galloway, Chatto Creek and Omakau.

Collecting a stamp where Galloway Station once stood. That wee building used to be the ladies' waiting room

Collecting a stamp where Galloway Station once stood. That wee building used to be the ladies’ waiting room

Oh look, a lady waiting

Oh look, a lady waiting

Chatto Creek Station was used from 1906-1983

Chatto Creek Station was used from 1906-1983

A long straight on the Chatto Creek to Omakau leg

A long straight on the Chatto Creek to Omakau leg

The leg to Omakau is the steepest part of the trail but at 1m incline for every 50m it wasn’t too bad. Omakau made a great lunch stop with a shady patch just off the trail and station building and cemetery to have a poke around in.

Omakau, thought to have been the country's busiest stock handling station

Omakau, thought to have been the country’s busiest stock handling station

I wandered through Omakau Cemetery during our lunch stop. Given the gold mining history in Central Otago the headstones can often be interesting

I wandered through Omakau Cemetery during our lunch stop. Given the gold mining history in Central Otago the headstones can often be interesting

From Omakau you can make a recommended and fairly short detour into Ophir and we did just that. We’ve been there before but when you travel by bike it gives you a different perspective and more time to notice details.

Our detour into Ophir

Our detour into sleepy little Ophir

An old Ophir house that intrigued me

An Ophir house that intrigued me

Crossing the Daniel O’Connell Bridge to rejoin the Rail Trail

Crossing the Daniel O’Connell Bridge to rejoin the Rail Trail

The last few kms were not very speedy and we arrived in Lauder mid-afternoon tired but having loved our first day as Rail Trailers!

Pedalling the home stretch to Lauder

Pedalling the home stretch to Lauder

Made it to the end of day 1

Made it to the end of day 1

The 1904 railway hotel at Lauder was our lodging for the night. When rail passenger numbers started to diminish, the hotel was turned 180 degrees to face the road

The 1904 railway hotel at Lauder was our lodging for the night. When rail passenger numbers started to diminish, the hotel was turned 180 degrees to face the road

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. What a great adventure. I used to love biking and your post made me nostalgic for all the great bike rides that I’ve been on 🙂 My apologies for not visiting your blog for a while. I was ‘off radar’ for a month but I’m back now. Hope all well with you Hayley. Lottie 🙂

    13 July 2013
    • Hi Lottie 🙂 thanks for your comment. I’ve not kept up with blog reading lately either, though mine is a time management problem mainly ‘thanks’ to work pressures. We can only do what we can do can’t we! I’m enjoying revisiting this trip and would whisk myself back down to repeat the ride tomorrow if I could. (Or, as it’s winter, maybe I’d hold off a bit!)

      13 July 2013
  2. My legs are aching just looking at your pics

    13 July 2013
    • Wouldn’t it be great if we could actually experience the benefits of exercise vicariously. It would save so much faffing about!

      13 July 2013
  3. I love this post!

    14 July 2013
  4. What a wonderful post! We love biking and Your photo story was great.

    14 July 2013
    • Thank you! That trip was my favourite time spent on a bike and it’s fun going back through the photos.

      15 July 2013
  5. DebraKJordan #

    The weather looks great and hope it stays that way for your bike trip.

    15 July 2013
    • It did stay great (pretty much) thanks. I wish it was happening real time – though we’d be wearing a lot more clothes if it was.

      15 July 2013

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