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Construction started last year on several sections of the 312km trail, which will descend 780m from Mount Cook village down the Waitaki and Waiareka Valleys to Oamaru Harbour. Several sections have been opened for use during the summer months. The completed track is due to open in November.
Heather Woodrow, of Woody's Faulty Towers, Duntroon, said a party of 18 from Auckland had been the first customers to come down the incomplete trail from Mount Cook.
"We had our first group in on Saturday and they all said it was absolutely brilliant," she said.
"The more groups we have stopping to fill the beds, the better."
The five double beds and three singles were indeed full on Saturday, and the overflow of visitors was accommodated in a deal with a bed and breakfast.
The hotel, the last on the trail from Kurow to Duntroon, was full of people raving about the new scenic route on Saturday, Ms Woodrow said.
The visitors had especially enjoyed visiting the nearby Elephant Rocks and the Waitaki River, although the cyclists had reported there were a few places at the beginning of the trail where the gravel had been too thick for a good cycling surface, she said.