Cycleway initiative offers exciting opportunities for Ruapehu District and Central North Island
The Ruapehu District Council says the announcement of two new cycleway initiatives in the Central North Island is an exciting development opportunity for the whole region.
Two of the seven new projects announced by the Government today under the national cycleway initiative run through the Ruapehu District.
The two projects are the two day Central North Island Rail Trail which runs through the Pureora Forest and features historic timber and rail sites and the 245 km Mountains to the Sea ride from Ohakune to Wanganui which crosses two National Parks and areas rich in Maori and early farming history.
About $5 million will be spent on developing the two rides through funding from the Government’s cycleway initiative and the Department of Conservation. A partnership between Ruapehu District Council, Iwi & DOC has been formed under a Mayoral Taskforce for Economic Development to help co-ordinate the projects and maximise opportunities for local communities.
Ruapehu Mayor Sue Morris says the cycleway initiatives are a major boost for the region and will add further momentum to the Ruapehu district tourism sector.
“It is hugely exciting for the district – we see the two projects as a major vote of confidence in the tourism opportunities in our region. I’m very confident they will bring new opportunities, new investment and jobs.”
Sue Morris says the initiatives will bring immediate benefits to local communities and businesses from track upgrade and construction work.
She says the experience of the Central Otago Rail Trail shows longer term benefits flowing from the development of tourism based businesses such as guiding, equipment hire, accommodation and transport.
Whanganui Iwi leader Archie Taiaroa says the iwi is also keen to develop the opportunities presented by the Mountains to Sea cycleway.
“Whanganui iwi already have strong working relationships with the Ruapehu District Council, DOC and Tangata Whenua are looking forward to making the most of the opportunities presented by the Mountains to Sea ride.”
Phase one of both rides mostly involves development of tracks managed by DOC, but also includes some public and paper roads managed by district councils. The mayoral taskforce will be working to further develop sections of the rides over the next few years. Construction of the two rides will cost around $5m – with DOC funding about half the cost.
Barbara Browne, Department of Conservation General Manager Operations said the department is delighted to be working with local communities to bring visitors to these iconic parts of the North Island.
“DOC’s work on the Central Otago Rail Trail has brought significant benefits to that region and we’re looking to repeat that experience for these communities too.”
- The Central North Island Rail Trail will be a two day 60 km cycleway through the Pureora Forest Park southwards towards Ongarue and Taumarunui. Traversing through native forest the route incorporates the Ongarue tramway, including the spiral, and remnants of the logging industry as well as the historic Endeans timber mill and village.
- The ‘Mountain to the Sea’ ride is a 245 km ride over 4-6 nights travelling through two iconic national parks with outstanding scenery and a rich cultural, historic and natural heritage. Visitors would start on slopes of Mt Ruapehu, cross the Hapuawhenua Viaduct on the Ohakune Old Coach Road, cycle through the Whanganui National Park on the historic roads built to support farm settlements after World War 1 and cross the iconic Bridge to Nowhere. Cyclists would then take a jet boat down the Whanganui River to Pipiriki, bike down the Whanganui River Road past settlements such as Jerusalem (Hiruharama), rich in Maori and early settler history.
Ruapehu District Council -27 July 2009