Once a thriving railway service centre for the Maniototo, Waipiata is steeped in early rail history, and it's only fitting that this little community shares in the huge success of the Otago Central Rail Trail, which sees thousands of cyclists ride at least some of the 152-kilometre trail which runs between Clyde and Middlemarch.
Today, this little settlement (population 50) snoozes through the winter months then bursts into life with the arrival of the spring to welcome the thousands of rail trailers and independent travellers exploring the Central Otago playground through summer and autumn.
Lying about eight kilometres east of Ranfurly, Waipiata is right on the Otago Central Rail Trail and so is Waipiata Motel.
Waipiata sits near one of New Zealand's longest rivers – the 318km Taieri, a watery oasis in the dry heart of Central Otago. The river attracts swimmers, kayakers and fishermen and women because its Māori name means "glistening water".
When the trains ran through Waipiata in the first half of the 20th century, the Waipiata station was the drop-off point for a nearby tuberculosis sanatorium at the base of the Rock and Pillar Range.
The railway's goods shed remains intact near town and a few historic buildings include the library, mudbrick cottages and two churches. The local community still gathers on the bowling green and at the Waipiata Country Hotel.
Waipiata is 51km from Middlemarch, either the start or the finish of the Otago Central Rail Trail.
Distances between settlements on the rail trail:
Clyde to Alexandra - 8km
Alexandra to Chatto Creek - 17km
Chatto Creek to Omakau - 12km
Omakau to Lauder - 7km
Lauder to Oturehua - 23km
Oturehua to Wedderburn - 12km
Wedderburn to Ranfurly - 13km
Ranfurly to Waipiata - 8km
Waipiata to Kokonga - 10.5km
Kokonga to Hyde - 14.5km
Hyde to Middlemarch - 27km