Monday, December 10, 2007

The End of the Trail

Day 76
Daisybank to Middlemarch
Time: 2:36:00
Distance: 37.8 k
Avg Speed: 14.5 kph
Terrain: Flat
Location: 45 30’ 32.3” S, 170 07’ 23.9” E

We awoke to raindrops on our tent this morning. I guess it was the end to the hot dry weather we’ve had for the last week. We certainly enjoyed our bush camp for the night – a real treat. The sheep and lambs looked on curiously as we packed up camp.
With no television to watch this morning we were on the road by 9am. The rain had stopped but we kept our jackets very accessible. Two and a half hours later (and several clothes changes later) we arrived in Middlemarch and the end of the Otago Rail Trail.
We enjoyed our journey tremendously. Not only did we have a nice break from the roads, we really felt like we got to “see” this area of Central Otago in detail. I’m quite certain that this part of New Zealand is not on the tourist track. Lucky for us – we had the time to ramble through. As we made progress forward each day, we were able to let our minds travel back in time.
Over 10,000 people enjoy the rail trail each year. It is managed by the DOC (Department of Conservation) and was opened in 2000. The project was modeled after other Rails to Trails Projects already completed. The route follows the former Otago Central Branch Railway line from Middlemarch to Clyde which ran for 83 years. It was an important link between Dunedin and the communities throughout this region. Tomorrow we’ll finish the remaining kilometers of the historic route on the Taieri Gorge Scenic Railway.

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