Otago cycle routes in contest final

New Zealand's best site for cycling could officially be in Otago if the region wins a national competition this month.

Bike Wise NZ's annual Favourite Places to Cycle competition pits 20 renowned cycling areas from around the country against each other.

People are encouraged to vote in four categories for what they believe is the best route.

Voting closes on February 29.

Otago has two of the five finalists in the Cycle Trail category: Queenstown Trail and the Otago Central Rail Trail.

Dunedin's surrounds, including Otago Peninsula, are one of five finalists for the On-road category.

New Zealand Transport Agency national cycling manager Dougal List said with victory came bragging rights and, if managed well, a potent marketing weapon.

Rotorua had won the overall title for the first two years and had used those wins in marketing material to attract cycle tourists to the city.

"Rotorua's a big cycle destination; they already market themselves as a good place to go riding. A lot of their tourism now is cycling.

"And they use [their win] as part of their promotions, as communicating it as a place to go for riding.''

Such promotions were becoming more important as the tourism industry saw increasing value in cycling, Mr List said.

Many of the country's rental car and campervan agencies now offered packages including bicycles, as many tourists wanted cycling to be part of their New Zealand holiday.

Cycling lobby group Spokes Dunedin's chairman, Dr Robert Thomson, said the city, Otago Peninsula in particular, was a worthy finalist for the on-road section.

"The Otago Peninsula ride is just one of the most beautiful rides in the world. Hands down, it's one of the top.''

Other on-road rides of note around Dunedin included the coastal route to Taieri Mouth and the trip from Outram to Lee Stream via George King Memorial Dr.

Queenstown and Central Otago cycle trails also deserved recognition, Dr Thomson said.

"They're just really nice trails that are off the road. They're very relaxing, it's a good environment, and they've got really good services.''

Otago as a region had the chance to become New Zealand's premier cycling destination, Dr Thomson said, especially if many of the trails across the region could be linked together.

People can vote for their favourite trails on the Bike Wise NZ website.

craig.borley@odt.co.nz

 


The finalists 
for NZ's Favourite Place to Cycle are. -

NZ Cycle Trail

• Hauraki Rail Trail (Waikato)

• Hawkes Bay Cycle Trails

• Great Lake Cycle Trail (Taupo)

• Queenstown Trail

• Otago Central Rail Trail

Off-Road or Adventure Ride

• Redwoods (Rotorua)

• Taupo MTB Trails

• Makara MTB Park (Wellington)

• Port Hills (Christchurch)

• Kaiteriteri MTB Park (Tasman)

Urban Trail or Commute

• New Plymouth Coastal Walkway and Trails

• Auckland Bays and Central Suburbs

• Taupo Central Trails

• Napier

• Christchurch

On-road

• Taupo and surrounds

• Napier and Hastings Urban Cycleways

• Wellington Bays

• Port Hills and Banks Peninsula (Christchurch)

• Dunedin surrounds and Otago Peninsula 


 

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