Rotorua opens NZCycleTrailNovember 29, 2012
A 37 kilometre section of Nga Haerenga, New Zealand Cycle Trail was officially opened at Te Puia in Rotorua this morning, in an event attended by the Associate Minister for Tourism Hon Chris Tremain, Green Party Spokesperson for Cycling Kevin Hague, Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters and Te Puia CEO Tim Cossar.
Cyclists can now travel from downtown Rotorua via the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, Te Puia, through Te Whakarewarewa Valley to Rainbow Mountain.
The entry and exit of the first part of Te Ara Ahi has been marked by the erection of two wooden, carved waharoa (gateways) which have been gifted to the Cycleway by Te Puia, the New Zealand MÄï¿½ori Arts and Crafts Institute. The waharoa tell the story of Hatupatu, a local warrior being chased by the bird woman Kurangaituku.
Thermal by Bike, Te Ara Ahi is one of 20 "Great Rides" throughout New Zealand, which together form the New Zealand Cycle Trail. The completed trail will finish at Orakei Korako.
New Zealand Cycle Trail Programme Manager John Dunn says Rotorua has a fantastic reputation as the mountain biking centre of the country and has cleverly integrated some of its attractions with Nga Haerenga - the New Zealand Cycle Trail.
"Thermal by Bike provides a compelling cycle tourism experience. It has easy family cycling and offers an enjoyable day out for visitors and locals alike. This is a pretty perfect one-day ride that complements Rotorua's unique visitor attractions and combines with local business opportunities to grow economic benefit for the whole area.
"This will be a great weekend cycling adventure when the trail is completed and fully open."
Mr Dunn says the waharoa gifted by Te Puia provide a striking and inspiring opening to the Thermal by Bike Trail and this first 37 km section of Te Ara Ahi.
Te Puia CEO, Tim Cossar, says Te Puia is delighted to be involved with the development of Te Ara Ahi. Te Puia's involvement has included the establishment of a 1.5km track providing access through part of the Te Whakarewarewa Valley to the Waipa mountain biking area.
"The cycleway is another development that enhances Rotorua's appeal and will help to make our city a destination of choice for domestic and overseas tourists alike.
"The cycleway is an important addition to Rotorua's visitor portfolio, as it will help attract domestic visitors and works neatly alongside the region's new "Famously Rotorua" campaign.
"We are pleased to be able to make a contribution to this effort - and to be able to tell one of our unique stories by doing so."
Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters says the opening of Rotorua's new cycleway means another exciting boost for Rotorua's growing international reputation as a world class cycling Mecca.
"The great thing about Te Ara Ahi is that it will be enjoyed by people of all ages and cycling abilities. They will set their own pace through some amazing scenery and uniquely Rotorua environments. In many cases these are locations and experiences you won't find anywhere else and, as a cyclist myself, that makes it very special.
"Developing the cycleway has been an excellent partnership between the government and Rotorua District Council, with valuable support and cooperation from iwi, businesses and other individuals and organisations.
"As the cycleway develops further over time I'm confident it's going to become one of Rotorua's 'must-do' experiences for many of our visitors, but importantly, it will be enjoyed by our local community as well," said Mr Winters.
Further information about the cycleway for visitors and locals is available at the Rotorua i-Site or go to http://www.nzcycletrail.com/thermal-bike-te-ara-ahi
Photo caption: Rotorua resident and international cycling identity, Julian Dean, and the Associate Minister for Tourism, Hon. Chris Tremain, check out the newly opened section of the Thermal by Bike cycleway which travels through Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley at Te Puia in Rotorua.
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