Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Wheels turn on new South Island cycleways

Work on new and upgraded cycle trails in Queenstown, Arrowtown and Central Otago is moving up a gear as two significant projects pass further milestones today.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has announced new funding for the Queenstown Trails Project, and will also formally open the Lake Dunstan Trail at Bannockburn near Cromwell.

“Cycle tourism and cycle trails enjoy strong support all over the country and some of the most extensive and popular networks are in the lower South Island,” Mr Nash said.

“Cycle tourism and associated activity like construction and maintenance of the trails, accommodation, cafes, retail and transport services has breathed new life into jobs, businesses and the economic recovery in our visitor destinations.

“Cycle tourism is popular with both domestic and international visitors and showcases spectacular landscapes and historic and cultural sites dotted around our regions.”

The government has approved $6.745 million for the Queenstown Trails Realignment Project, from Ngā Haerenga, the NZ Cycle Trails Fund. The Queenstown Trail is one of the most popular Great Rides and a major contributor to the local economy.

“It is currently a hub and spoke network of more than 120 kilometres of recreational, connector and commuter tracks, linking Queenstown, Arrowtown, Gibbston, Lake Hayes Estate, and Jacks Point,” the Minister said.

“The new project will improve the trail by realigning it, turning it into a more clearly defined world-class, multi-day cycle route that showcases the history, culture, landscapes, and vineyards in the Wakatipu Basin.

“The improved trail is expected to attract an additional 65,100 recreational users by 2033 and the project itself will involve about 28 full time jobs each year over the five year build.”

Later today Mr Nash will also officially open the 52km Lake Dunstan Trail which connects Cromwell to Clyde, the start and end point of the world-renowned Central Otago Rail Trail.

“The new Lake Dunstan trail skirts the shore of the lake created by the Clyde Dam and traverses some of the most breathtaking features of the Cromwell Gorge. Highlights include suspended boardwalks hanging off rock faces just metres above the lake,” he said.

“It will be an awesome cycling experience in a spectacular setting, and another drawcard to attract people to the district and connect with the Great Rides in the region.

“Today’s milestones for the two cycle trail projects are testament to the efforts of local businesses, individuals and charitable trusts. The wider communities of the Wakatipu and Cromwell Basins have given untold hours of volunteer labour and significant financial contributions, and have been a driving force behind the projects.”

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