Following the Otago goldrush, the agricultural and pastoral potential of Dunedin’s hinterland was recognised. The demand for transport became focused on this new form of wealth - as roads were notoriously bad, railways were seen to offer the best means of providing reliable transport and improving communications.
When a railway from Central Otago to Dunedin was first investigated in 1877, seven different routes were proposed. The Taieri Gorge was ultimately chosen because it opened up the greatest area of land, presented the fewest engineering difficulties, and was the most direct route between the two locations.
Despite taking the easy route, the railway still required impressive engineering solutions, such as the Wingatui Viaduct.
Today, this magnificent journey takes you from the ‘first class’ Dunedin railway station to Otago’s rural heartland and the Otago Central Rail Trail. The journey is only possible because of the foresight of volunteers that worked hard to retain their wonderful railway and develop it into one of the World’s great train rides. On a busy day as many as three trains and 1200 people enjoy the spectacular scenic journey.