Cycle trail makes world’s top 16

North Otago's Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail has made it on to a list of the world's best destinations in 2016 by travel publishers Frommer's.

The trail runs from Aoraki-Mt Cook to the coastal town of Oamaru in North Otago.

Being named as one of 16 of the "Best Places to Go'' in the world in 2016 is priceless marketing and "something that the whole region should be really proud of'', Tourism Waitaki general manager Jason Gaskill says.

"It'll be an amazing thing for the trail,'' Mr Gaskill said.

"This is extremely important - it's recognition that the trail itself, the infrastructure around it, the people who are operating on it and the people who are supplying it are operating to a standard that people feel comfortable to promote.''

Frommer's describes the trail as ‘‘stunning and cheerfully hospitable'' and starting the trail at Aoraki-Mt Cook "sets a perfect standard for awesome''.

"Your local hosts along the trail are happy to greet you and warmly organise food and lodging - after all, they pitched in to create this route for tourists - so come meet them under wide landscapes and huge skies... before the hordes find their way here,'' the Frommer's website said.

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is the only New Zealand attraction to feature on the list and appears alongside destinations including Shanghai, Abu Dhabi and Mongolia.

"[It's] been recognised alongside the likes of the National Parks System in the US - that's no small thing,'' he said.

Tourism Waitaki's international promotion of the cycle trail was primarily through Australia, as well as markets in the United Kingdom and Asia.

"We're heavily supported by Tourism New Zealand in a lot of their offshore activity as well,'' he said.

Use of the 301km trail was growing each year as more sections were developed and taken off-road.

"The feedback has been very positive, with all of the work that's been going on and sections opening up,'' he said.

The Kurow to Duntroon section has been cut and developed to be totally off-road.

From the eastern end of Kurow, the new off-road trail takes off alongside the Waitaki River before curving back to run alongside State Highway 83 and then through Pasquale Kurow Winery and on to Duntroon.

Tourism Waitaki will be holding events to highlight the completion of the section, promote its use and thank those responsible.

The Frommer's' Best Places to Go List for 2016 is compiled by the publisher's ‘‘global team of travelling experts''.

rebecca.ryan@odt.co.nz

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