A $13.2 million extension to Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail has been announced by Government, and the subsequent new trail network will spread tourism spending to more local communities.
The 530-kilometre continuous cycle trail network across the Otago region will connect four existing Great Rides and link 30 communities, and create an estimated 329 full-time jobs, says Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis.
“The new Central Otago Queenstown Trail network will help draw visitors off the beaten track and encourage people to stay longer, and spend in more communities beyond the main tourism spots,” Kelvin Davis says.
“Estimates predict the number of people riding that trail will more than double to 174,000 by 2032, and the average length of time that trail users stay in the area will increase by 33 percent – delivering economic growth and an estimated 329 more jobs across the regions.”
The project will see 122 kilometres of new trail constructed to connect the Clutha Gold Trail, Otago Central Rail Trail, Roxburgh Gorge Trail and Queenstown Trail, and extend the network north to Wanaka. A further 47 kilometres of existing trail will be upgraded.
The total project cost is $26.4 million. The Government contribution, awarded through the Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail: Enhancement and Extension Fund, is being matched by local funding, primarily through the Central Lakes Trust and Otago Community Trust.
“The Government wants to see regional New Zealand sharing in the economic success of the country as a whole. As our biggest export earner, tourism is a fundamental part of the New Zealand economic story, and we’re committed to spreading those benefits far and wide.”
Kelvin Davis also announced a total contribution of $281,313 to the Hauraki Rail Trail, Hawke’s Bay Trails and Waikato River Trails through the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund to help with emergency safety work and damage repair.
Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail is a network of 22 Great Rides across the country, used by more than a million people per year.