It’s the World Cup of the southern hemisphere cycling tours. Two iconic cycling trails, oft referred to as ‘Otago Rail Trail’ and ‘Murray to Mountains’. Two amazing bucket list travel destinations…New Zealand and Australia. Which will come out on top?
We have compiled a fairly exhaustive list of criteria we think is what you’d like on a cycling holiday, and compared each of the rail trails against each other – see the table below. We have then nominated a vote for the winner against each criteria to try and determine which cycling rail trail comes out trumps.
Of course this is an entirely subjective judgement, and we’d certainly welcome any comments to the contrary from those that have done both. At the end of the day, the cycling experience on these fantastic rail trails are different, and both have amazing strengths and very few weaknesses if any, and are incredible assets for the regions they are in.
Whatever you choose, we know you will have a fantastic cycling experience either way.
Otago vs Murray to Mountains (M2M)
|Surface||Compact gravel, stone in parts||Laid tar||M2M|
|Access||Easy/medium: 1 hr drive from Queenstown or Dunedin airport||Easy: 3 hr drive from Melbourne, 45 mins from Albury airport||M2M|
|Availability (weather)||Seasonal, 6 months||Seasonal, 9 months||M2M|
|Food & wine||Great - NZ Pinot Noir!||Superb (Hatted restaurants, Award winning wineries)||M2M|
|Group Tours||Yes||Yes (limited)||Otago|
|Self Guided||Yes, supported & independent||Yes, supported & independent||Equal|
|X Factor?||Train ride, Gorge ride option, NZ Alps||Cooking classes, Luxury accomm, Spa treatments, Hot air ballooning||Otago - just!|
|Cost of 5 day/4 night tour||$A1450 pp |
Excls bike hire, 3 meals, & Transfers
|Total Votes||6||10||Winner: M2M|
Images May Help You Decide
Of course there is nothing better than actually being able to see – like they say “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Check out these short image galleries, if nothing else for a bit of inspiration, but also to give you a feel for both rail trails.
Otago Rail Trail Image Gallery
Murray to Mountains Image Gallery
We’d love to hear your comments – be nice – below.
We also need to declare a vested interest in this topic as of course Tour de Vine’s offers cycling tours on the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail, and (currently) not on the Otago Rail Trail. Having said that, in all honesty we have tried to be as objective as possible. Our bigger aim is to have more people cycling, more often, so either way it works for us!