Cavalcaders to hit trails to Waikaia (and Topp fun)

Participants in the 2020 Otago Goldfield Heritage Trust Cavalcade head over Mt St Bathans to...
Participants in the 2020 Otago Goldfield Heritage Trust Cavalcade head over Mt St Bathans to Patearoa. PHOTOS: OTAGO GOLDFIELDS HERITAGE TRUST
About 500 walkers, runners, bikers, horse riders and wagon riders will hit the trails all bound for the hamlet of Waikaia — where there will be a special double act to help them celebrate their achievements.

The annual Otago Goldfield Heritage Trust Cavalcade will have participants starting a journey across the Deep South on 11 different trails, each ending at the same place on March 2.

Otago Goldfield Heritage Trust co-ordinator Terry Davis, of Cromwell, said there would be five horse trails, one light wagon trail, one heavy wagon and rider trail, one mountainbiking trail and three foot trails.

All, other than one of the more challenging foot trails, would be fully catered by the Wanaka Lions Club.

This year, two new tracks had been added to the selection, including one with the cavalcade’s most western starting point ever — a seven-day horse trail starting from Te Anau Downs Station.

The other new trail, a six-day running and tramping trail starting at Mount Linton Station in Southland, had the cavalcade’s most southern starting point ever.

Only one trail would start from Central Otago this year — a six-day riding trail starting from Earnscleugh.

Walkers in 2012 head towards Twizel.
Walkers in 2012 head towards Twizel.
The final day of the cavalcade would feature the traditional "hoedown" in Waikaia, involving a street parade, live music, markets and food stalls.

Mr Davis, who has been organising the event since 2010, said about 3000 visitors were expected to be at the hoedown — which this year was being headlined by the "very special" Topp Twins.

Waikaia has a population of 140.

Such a big event in such a small town really brought the community together, he said.

"It takes the whole community to put on the final day, and it is a wonderful feeling when everyone reaches the same end goal."

Organisers were excited about it to.

"[It’s] a big buzz — everyone is happy and ready to have a good time."

It was the second time Waikaia had been the cavalcade’s destination.

Runners stop to take in the view from Omarama Pass on the way to Patearoa during the 2020 cavalcade.
Runners stop to take in the view from Omarama Pass on the way to Patearoa during the 2020 cavalcade.
Veteran cavalcaders still talked about the good time they had when the event was last held there, Mr Davis said.

"Smaller rural communities tend to put on a great show, and provide a great time."

The event would bring in an array of benefits for Waikaia, including a significant amount of money for the Waikaia Cavalcade Committee, the local hotel and shops as a result of the huge increase of people in the town.

 - By Olivia Judd

 

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