First New Zealand cycleway on track for July
New Zealand’s national cycleway project is off to an exciting start – with the first of seven ‘quick start’ projects launching in July.
The ‘Ruapehu – Whanganui – Nga Ara Tuhono’ trail, which runs from Ruapehu in the central North Island to Whanganui on the western coast, will form part of the ongoing ‘Great Rides’ national cycle network.
The first cycle trail, which travels through land protected by the Department of Conservation (DOC), will be launched on 2 July by New Zealand Prime Minister Mr John Key.
Riders will be able to cycle on two sections of the trail immediately after the launch, with the rest of the route to be completed before the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
Mountain to the sea
The ‘Ruapehu – Whanganui – Nga Ara Tuhono’ cycle trail is the first of the national cycleway ‘quick start’ projects to be launched.
The complete trail will traverse two iconic national parks – and is due to be finished next year (2011). It will be a four to six-day ride, with varying levels of trail difficulty.
Two large sections of the trail are ready for use from 2 July 2010 – the Old Coach Road day ride, an easy ride from Ohakune to Horopito, and a two-day ride from Raetihi to Mangapurua Landing, suitable for more adventurous cyclists.
Campsites and toilets are dotted along both sections and DOC is hoping to install more ‘track furniture’ such as bridges, seats and board-walks over the next few months.
Several tour operators are also putting together guided cycling and accommodation packages.
The launch of the Ruapehu – Whanganui trail will take place at Ohakune Railway Station with a karakia or Māori blessing and an official ribbon-cutting ceremony by Mr John Key. The prime minister will be one of the first to ride a mountain bike on the new cycle trail.
The Raetihi – Mangapurua Track is a historical highlight of the cycle trail, as it crosses the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ and passes through Mangapurua Valley soldiers settlement within Whanganui National Park. The bridge was built in the 1930s for the first settlers – soldiers who were given land by the New Zealand government for their service during WWI.
Visitors with limited time will be able to do the Old Coach Road day ride, with an uphill or downhill option depending on the starting point choice of either Horopito or Ohakune.
Cycling and pedal power must be the ultimate in eco-travel!
Thanks to NZ Tourism for this information