OTAGO RAIL TRAIL: THE MISSED CHANCE

The Otago Rail Trail was on Paula’s “need to experience”-list. A former rail line from the age of gold digging (1879) that leads from Dunedin to Queenstown. Nowadays it is one of the most popular cycling routes. The ride takes cyclists through picturesque, wild terrain with tunnels, viaducts, gravel roads, steep ascents, valleys with rivers and orchards. Paula would have loved that. An average or higher level of fitness is required for the trail.

Paula is a bit disappointed because she missed another chance to experience a nice cycling tour. She rents another car, takes a Swiss woman with her, and drives directly to Queenstown. Paula needs more than 5 hours for the 282 km. Highway 8 provides the shortest connection and is also the only possible route as there are road closures due to the continuous rain.

It is not possible to stop and get out of the car in order to see the supposedly spectacular mountains. Wafts of mist and rain force her to concentrate on the street only.

Paula is relieved to have arrived in Queenstown safely. Queenstown is a merry town situated on the shore line of Lake Wakatipu and next to the southern foothills of the spectacular Southern Alps. The city is considered as the “Mecca of fun sports” and therefore, it is bustling with young people and numerous bars and shops that are also open in the evening. According to Paula, this is quite unusual for New Zealand.

 

The region not only offers paragliding, various water sports, skiing in winter, great cycling tours but also mellow landscapes with viticulture and alpine areas. There are sights like Arthur’s Pass in the national park of the same name.

Paula gets along well with her new travel companion and their “shared suffering” is celebrated in the city centre. Wait and see – that’s the motto.

 

 

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