Cyclists enjoy the Otago Central Rail Trail between Hyde
and Daisybank. Photo by John Fridd
The New Zealand Cycle Trail grew today with the Otago
Central Rail Trail officially joining the cycle network as one
of its Great Rides.
The countrywide trail was an idea that sprung from the
Government's 2009 job summit, and is expected to eventually
include a network of cycle tours stretching the length of the
The Otago trail, which runs 150km from Clyde to Middlemarch,
today officially became one of the network's Great Rides,
with a plaque unveiling ceremonies held at the start and
finish of the track this morning.
Prime Minister John Key, the man behind the national
cycleway, said the Otago trail brought in 20,000 cyclists
each year who contributed more than $12 million to the local
economy each year.
"The Otago Central Rail Trail is a local economic success
story and provided, in part, the inspiration for developing a
national network of cycle trails,'' he said.
Mr Key said today that 60 percent of the national cycleway's
2400km of off-road routes had been completed.
Four of the 18 planned Great Rides, dedicated trails in
scenic locations, have been completed, and Mr Key said
another three more would open in the next three months.
Among those who joined in with today's celebrations in Otago
was Green MP Kevin Hague.
"The Otago Rail Trail did the hard work of converting the
sceptics, opening up the potential for cycle tourism
opportunities throughout our beautiful country,'' he said.
"I have personally ridden the rail trail a number of times
and have witnessed first-hand the development of a great
cycling experience and the rejuvenation of local communities
that has gone hand in glove with it.''
Mr Hague said the Greens would continue to work with the
Government to help set up cycling infrastructure for the
"In this case, however, the hard work had already been done.
All we had to do was turn up with the new signage and unveil
it,'' he said.