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Touring on Two Wheels

31 January 2024

Cycling is great for sustainability in many ways – it’s zero carbon, encourages people to stay longer and embodies a more contemplative “slow travel” form of tourism. No more so than in Otago, where cycle trails have rocketed in popularity since the Otago Central Rail Trail was opened in 2000. 

To lift the experience for visitors and benefit little communities along the way, four regional tourism organisations - Destination Queenstown, Tourism Central Otago, Clutha Development and Enterprise Dunedin – and biking group Queenstown Trails joined forces in 2021 as the Otago Trails Marketing Group. The group’s combined area contains five of the country’s 23 Great Rides plus a string of charming smaller trails.  

Ultimately, says Tourism Central Otago’s Anthony Longman, visitors will be able to “fly into Queenstown, jump on a bike and ride to Dunedin”. The last link is the Kawarau Gorge trail between Wanaka and Cromwell, which went under construction late last year. 

Otago Trails Marketing Group doesn’t just see its work as promotion; it takes visitor education and assistance seriously. It offers cyclists important practical tips on riding the trails and where to stay and eat, most recently using its new website.

The group also works hard to connect cyclists with local conservation projects along the way, and to fill in surveys that produce valuable data. 

By helping people have better experience, the Otago Trails Marketing Group showed a level of collaboration which saw it become a finalist in the New Zealand Tourism Awards 2023. 

Otago's Five Great Rides:

  1. Lake Dunstan Trail 
  2. Otago Central Rail Trail 
  3. Clutha Gold Trail 
  4. Roxburgh Gorge Trail 
  5. Queenstown Trails, 135km of off-road trails around Lake Whakatipu, Arrowtown and Gibbston Valley 
    • Plus, the new Dunedin loop, Te Aka Otākou 

Check out more great tourism stories here.

Thanks to our strategic partners

Thanks to our strategic partners

Thanks to our strategic partners