Duntroon to Oamaru
A2O SECTION 8 – DUNTROON TO OAMARU
Technical Difficulty: Grade 3
Fitness Required: Intermediate
Trail Overview: This final section of trail is mostly purpose built cycle trail with some road sections. Highlights include the Elephant Rocks, the historic Rakis Railway Tunnel and, of course Oamaru, by the Pacific Ocean.
The final section…
Venture into the rolling hills, following the Vanished World trail. Through limestone formations you will find ancient Maori rock drawings and dinosaur fossils, as well as film sites from some well known films, including Narnia and some movies not yet complete! The dedicated cycle trail starts just outside of Duntroon and takes you right past one of the Maori rock drawing sites. You then follow a mix of sealed public back roads and dedicated cycle trail up, over and through the Elephant Rocks limestone landscape. Have a bike lock handy so you can stop, lock you bike and take the short, well sign posted walks to see the Vanished Worlds, an amazing snapshot of our history. Make sure you pick up an information brochure from the Vanished world information centre before your leave Duntroon to help you understand these amazing features.
Drop behind the Elephant Rocks on the off-road cycle trail through the valley where they filmed the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and then through several farms. You rejoin the road at Prydes Gulley which takes you to Island Cliff, surrounded by limestone escarpments. Keep right on the road until you get to Karara Creek where you head back onto the off road cycle trail.
A series of undulating gravel roads take you to the Rakis Railway Tunnel where there is a toilet, picnic spot and tap with drinking water. Make sure you have a torch or phone handy as the tunnel is pitch black and, if it seems really dark, make sure you’ve removed your sunglasses!
Next stop is the town of Windsor, then an off-road section of trail takes you through farmland to Enfield and onto Weston where you rejoin the old railway line (yes, it’s a rail trail!) for a flat run to Saleyards Rd.
Follow the road downhill to the Oamaru Gardens and enjoy their beauty, especially if the flowers are in bloom. Bike through the gardens, across SH1, then through the park to the main street (Thames Street). Turn right into the far lane and ride south past the i-SITE, turning left on Itchen St, right onto Tyne, then left onto Harbour St. Ride through the Victorian Historic Precinct to the Oamaru Harbour where the trail ends at Friendly Bay and the Pacific Ocean!
There is a toilet at elephant rocks and then by the old tunnel. That’s it in 54km so please plan carefully and, as always, take care on the road sections.
The guide's explanations and information added to the enjoyment of the ride. It was great when we had a guide to support the slower cyclist so that the rest could go at their own pace.
I loved your selection of interesting and sometimes spectacular accommodation and eating locations. You adapted according to changing weather and cyclist abilities with quiet grace and thought for the group.
I was very worried about how I was going to survive the 300km ride on a different bike seat without destroying some of my anatomy, however the bikes were totally appropriate for the trail we were doing & the guide reassured us, adjusted & tweaked until all of us were comfortable in the saddle.
I was totally inexperienced but thoroughly enjoyed tho whole day...Our guide exuded passion for the region and was full of information regarding flora and fauna and history... giving me helpful tips enabling me to complete the ride with growing confidence!!!
...riding in the middle of nowhere was a beautiful experience ... Thank you for making our honeymoon a truly amazing experience. We loved every day of it and did not want it to end. We will be back!
Fresh healthy and hearty meals. plenty of choices.
Food was fantastic and better than we expected. Thoroughly enjoyed the variety of accommodation.
Accommodation exceeded my expectations, especially the last night which just blew my mind.
I was concerned about the price at first... now I would rate it as absolute value for money… it was much better value than we possibly imagined.
My favourite parts of the trip? Impossible to answer, so many wonderful aspects to the experience. Wineries were enjoyable, distances each day were manageable, bikes were excellent, food and accommodation were exceptional.
The whole trip was fantastic and I especially enjoyed the mountain bike tracks around the edges of the lakes. Thanks Sara and Vernon, We had the best time and we were very lucky to spend time in such a spectacular environment.
I loved that everyone had the option of following their choices to ride through their challenges, or not, without judgement or pressure.
Both Vernon and Sara are very professional, nothing was too much trouble.
Thank you again for a truly memorable experience... you provided the greatest and most enjoyable service we have experienced in a very long time.
I didn't expect so many extras to be included plus the freedom to order any meal off the menu at the evening cafe's. The food was exceptional. All the accommodation was first class, and the different types added to the experience. Each day was an adventure and I cannot think of any aspect that I could possibly recommend a change.
A really enjoyable morning MTB ride with a very professional outfit.
Professional ,informative & well organised tour still adding a personal touch making the trip a memorable one. Ability to adapt to any situation maintaining group dynamics and moral. Well done an outstanding team!
Thank you so much for the wonderful trip we have had and the photo – was just the ”icing on the cake!”
I thought it was a good mix of wine tours, cycling, resting, exploring, hot tubs, shopping, food, information, walks and talks. Don't change a single thing.
I did a few gulps at the price - shortly into the trip it was obvious that we were Definitely receiving Value For money. Worth every cent.
Thoroughly enjoyable day out, May 2014. Really nice riding...it was quite cool in May with dusting of snow on neighbouring hills - which made for gorgeous photos.
The bikes, the scenery and the accommodation and food exceeded my expectations. I have done very little mountain bike riding and was even a little apprehensive about it. As it turned out, I loved the bikes and my confidence on them soared. I could have taken my bike home with me!
Great scenery. great company. great organisation.
Lunches were perfect - sandwiches, make your own and plenty of choices. Healthy - good balance. Breakfast was excellent - the cooked breakfasts were a great 'base' for a day's biking. Evening meals were good to amazing.
Every dietary need was offered...absolutely wonderful food.
(The guide) went the extra mile and encouraged me without being patronising.His knowledge and love of the area was tops and we missed him when the trip was over and we had to look at places without his explanations. He was the perfect guide.
NON-RIDER. I didn’t actually ride, I was worried about the comfort of the bus but it was great. Excellent food and most of it was New Zealand made which was great. Loved the exclusive accommodations. Very nice. (The guides were) very informative and were very knowledgeable. I felt very safe being driven around by them. Bus very comfortable and plenty of room.
Big thanks to you for a great trip and especially to the guide who with his sound knowledge and advice I was able to cycle a good chunk of the track despite not being able to walk! Thanks so much we really had a great time. Everything was good, keep doing what you are already doing well :)
All accommodation was very good. All food was excellent. The guide's home cooked meals/breakfasts were great. Meals out delicious. Also liked the fact that when we ate out we could have what we liked without restrictions. We suggested it could be marketed as a gourmet tour!
Enjoyed every day and thought the guides and accommodation were very good. The tour was better than I thought. Food was very good and I thought the tour was well balanced but particularly enjoyed unique accommodations where food was provided on site.
I've been on lots of guided tours all around the world incl TDF, Vietnam, Greece, Turkey, UK and you have surpassed everything I have experienced in the past.
Totally amazed by the food. Can't give a top choice as each night was special and different. Breakfasts, lunches and snacks all superb. I ate far too much.
All meals were excellent Always looked forward to eating! It was great to stay in a range of different accommodation. a job well done finding the variety of places. nice to have some meals at the accommodation as well and not have too go out.
The best recommendation I can give about the bikes is that I have purchased a new bike the same as those used on the trip. Unfortunately it hasn't come with the excellent van and trailer we became used to on the trail - we were spoilt rotten with such good quality, well maintained equipment.
Nothing was a problem. The welfare, safety, experience and comfort of the group was paramount. We were so well looked after. Thank you!
I could not fault (the guide's) commitment, energy, knowledge, good humor and patience and evenhandedness and attention to each individual. I would imagine that we all felt absolutely attended to, as I did.
The cycle tour was better than my expectations. Honestly I can't think of anything you could do better.
We came to this tour from word of mouth and we've been to Central Otago many times before so we knew how great the environment and scenery would be, but the efforts made with accommodation and meals was much more than we expected. I loved the cycle tour and we're determined to come back and try out your new tours.
The accommodation and food was excellent, much better than anticipated in comparison with previous rides.
The evening meals were fantastic. The guide was very accommodating, knowledgable about the area and their enthusiasm was inspiring. This was our first cycle tour, we had so much fun & the scenery was spectacular! Thanks to the guide for accommodating our little side trips … and gliding. It was an AWESOME cycle trail.
I was blown away by the scenery and organisation of your trip. All I can say is thank you and congratulations!
All accommodation was very good and some outstanding.
Fantastic attention to detail. Different experience/adventure every day. I have dietary restrictions which are a pain in the neck. This was handled brilliantly and without fuss. Very authentic Kiwi experience.
This trip surpassed expectations by quite a margin.
Excellent food; excellent variety; all needs cared for including snacks en route.
How would I rate the cycle tour? It exceeded expectations. We were very well supported with excellent guides who were Very attentive and co-operative. Accommodation exceeded expectations.
We managed to bike almost 200kms and still come home a bit heavier! So nice to have healthy fresh food, good coffee and a different dinner experience each night. Food was fantastic!
Your guides were excellent, couldn’t have asked for anything better. Loved everything about the trip. Wonderful value for money. My thanks to you all.
We thought the whole operation was marvelous. (The guide) was incredible, and everything was so well organised. Great variety each day in the cycling and different places we stayed each night added variety.
Every meal we had, without exception was excellent... the best breakfasts, the lunches were always in the most perfect spots, dinners ... well YUM! Great variety, tasty fresh ingredients ... nice.
You guys are awesome. Thanks again for a wonderful experience...we appreciate all of the things you guys did to make this pretty special.
Awesome scenery, wonderful service, and helibiking was "fabulous" to quote daughter Odette!
Change nothing…you don't need to do more!
C/O Not A Rail Trail PO Box 2716,
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