Eight new cycle trails ready to roll

  • John Key
  • Jonathan Coleman

Acting Minister of Tourism, Dr Jonathan Coleman, has welcomed the announcement that eight new cycle trails have been approved for funding under The New Zealand Cycle Trail Project.

The eight projects are in Opotiki/Gisborne, Taupo, Hawke's Bay, Nelson/Tasman, Westport, Mount Cook/Waitaki, Queenstown and Clutha.

Dr Coleman said the government investment in the eight new trails of $18.85 million will provide a significant economic boost to the communities involved.

"These trails will showcase the very best that New Zealand has to offer in terms of our landscapes, culture and communities. They will be a key draw-card for both international and domestic visitors, and add a further dimension to our vibrant tourism sector," Dr Coleman said.

"I am delighted that construction will be underway on these trails this summer, and I look forward to them becoming part of Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail."

This announcement follows the evaluation of feasibility studies submitted to the Ministry of Tourism in May. Due to the diligent work of the applicants, funding for these trails has been confirmed four months ahead of schedule enabling construction to begin as soon as possible.

"I would like to acknowledge the significant amount of work the applicants have put into their feasibility studies.  It's a great pleasure to see how these cycle trails have been totally embraced by the communities involved," Dr Coleman said.


Questions and Answers

How many trails have had their funding approved so far?

Thirteen trails have now had their funding confirmed under the New Zealand Cycle Trail project. Eight trails had their funding confirmed today and five trails have already previously had their funding confirmed. This means 80% of the New Zealand Cycle Trail funding has now been committed.

Why have two of the eight trails only been part-funded at this stage?

Only sections of the Heretaunga Ararau trail in Hawke's Bay and the Clutha Gold trail have been given the green light at this stage.  This is so that construction can begin on the parts of the trail that have been confirmed as being definitely feasible as soon as possible. The remainder of each trail needs further investigation to confirm their feasibility. However, in both cases, the Ministry is confident that should the other part of the trail not prove feasible, the part that is funded now will still be a Great Ride in itself.

Why have you chosen these eight trails? 

These trails have gone through an extensive assessment exercise and it's believed that these trails will showcase the best New Zealand has to offer, including iconic landscapes, connecting communities, providing cultural experiences and providing sustainable jobs. These trails have proven they are feasible now and meet The New Zealand Cycle Trail criteria.

Why haven't all of the Phase Two trails had their funding approved today?

The eight trails which had their funding approved clearly met The New Zealand Cycle Trail criteria.  

There are four trails which require further investigative work before funding can be committed for construction. These trails are: The Thermal by Bike trail (Rotorua), Ruapehu to Whanganui trail, Old Ghost Road trail (West Coast) and the Roxburgh Gorge trail (Alexandra). Our goal is for these trails to also be progressed; however there are important issues to work through. Issues include land access, and the need for further engineering assessments.  It is important we invest in feasible projects to ensure that the funding is spent wisely, and the benefits of the trails flow through to communities.  The Ministry is aiming to have decisions on these trails by the end of October.

Why has the Tauranga Moana project been declined?

The Tauranga Moana trail has the potential to be a great product but unfortunately, there is currently too much uncertainty for it to be considered feasible at this stage. There is particular concern about land access uncertainty over a large part of the trail.  Unfortunately, the parts that were more certain were at either end of the trail and were not long enough to be considered "Great Rides" in themselves. This meant they didn't meet the feasibility requirements. It is important that funding is applied where we are confident that the product will be delivered.

When will construction start?

Construction of the eight trails announced today is expected to be underway this summer. We expect to have made decisions about funding on the remainder of the trails by the end of October. 

When will the first trails be completed?

The St James trail in Hamner Springs is well underway and is due to be completed this summer. Several sections of other trails have also been completed, including a substantial section of the Waikato River trail and a section of the Whanganui- Ruapehu, which was launched by the Prime Minister last week

Summary of all trails under the New Zealand Cycle Trail project which have had funding confirmed to date

Name of Trail


Total Length of trail (km) including existing trail and future plans of applicant

Phase One - Funding Confirmed



Waikato River Trail*

The Waikato River Trail will follow the Waikato River and five hydro-lakes from Atiamuri to Horahora. 


Central North Island Rail Trail*

The trail runs from Puerora (off State Highway 30), southwards toward Ongarue and Taumarunui.


Mountains to Sea*

Once completed, the total Mountain to Sea ride would traverse two iconic national parks with outstanding scenery and a rich cultural, historic and natural heritage.


St James*

The trail traverses the St James Mountain Range.  It offers mountain scenery and a mix of trails through beech forest and grassland valleys.


Around the Mountain

Stage One - Cyclists would cross Lake Wakatipu on the Earnslaw and head through Walter Peak Station to Mossburn.  Stages Two and Three - from Mossburn, through the Oreti Gorge and along the old railway line to Lumsden.


Old Motu Coach Road

The journey follows an old coach road and an early 1900s stock track from Matawai to Opotiki. It finishes with a trail along the coast east of Opotiki.


Lake Track (Taupo)

Starting 15 minutes from Taupo, an all-weather multi-day cycle trail on the edge of Lake Taupo through native forest with views of the lake and Tongariro National Park.


Nelson Dun Mountain Trail

Extension to the Dun Mountain cycling trail.


Tasman Loop (Stage 1)

A 3-day trail from Nelson to Tapawera, to Motueke and Kaiteriteri then returning via a coastal route.


Heretaunga Ararau - Landscapes Trail

The Landscape Trail will visit the Tukituki River Valley with views of Te Mata Peak.


Westland Wilderness Trail

A cycling adventure from Greymouth to Ross, travelling through wild beaches, rainforests, lush wetlands and lakes, on a route explored by pioneering gold rush miners.


Alps to Ocean

Cycle trail from Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, descending 780m through the Mackenzie basin down the Waitaki Valley to Oamaru, with multiple access points to begin or end the ride.


Queenstown Trail (formerly Wakatipu Trail)

A series of trails encompassing picturesque and historic Arrowtown and Queenstown within the Wakatipu Basin.


(2 stages of 5)

Clutha Gold Trail - Roxburgh to Beaumont

A trail from Roxburgh Dam to the Beaumont township.


* Construction has begun