Central Otago New Zealand is an area of outstanding natural
beauty which spans between the city of Dunedin and the premier
resort town of Queenstown. From Queenstown it is a one hour drive
through the award winning wine region of Gibbston and then through
the winding Kawarau George to Clyde - the start (or finish) of the
From Dunedin it is a one hour drive to Middlemarch the start (or
finish) of the Otago Central Rail Trail. You can also choose to
take the train (the Taieri George Railway) for your transfer to
Middlemarch if you are starting with us from Dunedin. Biking the
Otago Central Rail Trail immerses you in this timeless, wide open
Central Otago landscape. It steeps you in the history of gold's
lure, farming and rail. It leads you past basking trout and
majestic tors, while overhead fly the freewheeling native Falcon,
Oturehua poet Brian Turner, in his essay "Humanity and Nature"
about Grahame Sydney's Maniototo art, captures the environment of
Otago Central's Rail Trail.
Come on a New Zealand biking trip with OFF THE RAILS and
experience Central Otago!
"His is not a world waiting to be used by
'adventure-tourists' and 'thrill-seekers', it is for those who
prefer reflection and contemplation... In essence so many of his
paintings are about staying not leaving, about enduring, hanging
on. How do you persist and exist here, glory in what you see,
respect what has gone before, what remains, and what will live on?
What does live on? Nothing organic remains the same; little of what
we, humans, make is assured of continuance. But a painting might
last, a poem, a story. The land tells a story, the dilapidated
buildings testify to other stories bound up in the land's story,
and the clouds are transient but keep on coming, forming and
Sydney's world, his wilderness where the
spirit is tested and strengthened by a pure airiness, great space,
is almost always unforested. Or is it? If you can locate yourself
here it is in a forest of loneliness, temperamentally, where you
are exposed to yourself and everything else. You need strength of
purpose, of character; you need courage to stand up here and not
avert the eyes. Only through distance can you find yourself. Beyond
the far blue, gold, or dun hills and mountains, beneath cirrus
edged with gold, there's a self to be reckoned with.
Do we explore the land, or does it explore
from 'Humanity and Nature,' by Brian Turner, in 'The Art of
Grahame Sydney' (Longacre Press, 2000)