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 new funding of $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 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 this afternoon Mr Nash also officially opens 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.
“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,” Mr Nash said.
Visit New Zealand Cycle Trail Enhancement and Extension Fund for further information.
Queenstown Trails Realignment Project
The project will be undertaken in two stages:
a) Stage 1 Arthurs Point to Arrowtown, Tuckers Beach to Arthur’s Point; and
b) Stage 2: Jacks Point, Lake Hayes Estate and Gibbston Valley.
Total cost of the project is $20.773 million, with the NZCT Fund contribution being $6.745 million. NZCT funding is subject to the outcomes of the partial review of the Otago Conservation Management Strategy to allow for mountain biking on some public conservation land.
The project will be supplemented by $4.49 million funding from Waka Kotahi, the New Zealand Transport Agency as part of the Wakatipu Active Transport programme.
Lake Dunstan Trail
The Lake Dunstan Trail is a 44 km Grade 1-2 (Easiest – Easy) cycle trail which connects Clyde to Cromwell, and continues on around Lake Dunstan to the settlement of Pisa Moorings.
The trail promises to be very popular and will showcase the arid rocky landscapes of the region. Interpretation along the trail will tell the stories of settlement of the valley, including early goldminers, orchardists and dam builders.
Central Government committed $13.2 million from the NZCT Fund to the Central Otago – Queenstown Trail Network. The Central Lakes Trust and the Otago Community Trust have contributed matching local co-funding for the project.
The Lake Dunstan Trail is the first of five projects that will eventually link the four Great Rides in Central Otago, and connect Queenstown, Arrowtown, Wanaka, Cromwell, Clyde and Alexandra. It will create a 550km network of Great Ride cycle trails, to be known as the Central Otago Queenstown Trails Network (COQTN).