Entry to the Poolburn No. 2 tunnel Entry to the Poolburn No. 2 tunnel.

Site of historic train wreck. Site of historic train wreck.

A Little History

The Rail Trail was originally a rail line from Dunedin (Otago) to Cromwell (Central Otago), with the first section opening in 1889, reaching Ranfurly in 1898, Omakau in 1904, Alexandra in 1906 and Clyde in 1907.

Work stopped until 1914 and it was not until 1921 that it reached Cromwell. This section between Clyde and Cromwell closed in 1980 for the construction of the Clyde Dam, and in December 1989, it was announced that the remaining line would close on 30 April 1990. The rails were lifted back to Middlemarch, and this roadbed is the basis which formed the 150Km Rail Trail from Clyde through stunning Central Otago landscape to Middlemarch.

The Department of Conservation and the Otago Central Rail Trust, have developed this part of the original line, into a unique year round recreational facility, a gravel trail suitable for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, that can be traveled either way.

An opportunity to enjoy a remote area full of history, view the stunning Central Otago landscape, not able to be seen from the highway, across wonderful farmland, through spectacular gorges, over wooden trestle bridges and viaducts, tunnels cut through schist bluffs and so much more, while enjoying mainly flat or gentle gradients.

The old hyde station, a real slice of history. The old hyde station, a real slice of history.