Prime minister officially opens new cycle trail

Olympic cyclist Sarah Ulmer and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English lead the first group of cyclists over the Southern Discoveries bridge near Arrowtown following the opening of the Queenstown Trail yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Olympic cyclist Sarah Ulmer and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English lead the first group of cyclists over the Southern Discoveries bridge near Arrowtown following the opening of the Queenstown Trail yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
It was wet, cold and windy, but more than 300 keen Queenstown cycle enthusiasts turned out for the opening of the Queenstown Trail near Arrowtown yesterday.

While Prime Minister John Key grinned and greeted children and adults, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English donned lycra and rode over the trail's Southern Discoveries bridge.

The $5.4 million 110km trail has been three years in the making and yesterday was opened by Mr Key with hundreds of supporters eagerly watching in the rain.

The trail is part of the Government's $50 million nationwide cycle trail initiative, and he commended the Queenstown Trails Trust and its contributors for raising $3 million to match the Government's $2 million contribution.

Asked whether the money could have been better spent elsewhere, Mr Key said the trails had created 882 jobs during construction and would lure tourists to the area.

"It's a great way of producing jobs. We know the tourists come and want things to do and we know cycling is hugely popular. ... I just think it will be a great thing for New Zealand."