Rail trail named NZ's favourite place to ride

Cyclists enjoy the Otago Central Rail Trail between Hyde and Daisybank. Photo by John Fridd
Cyclists enjoy the Otago Central Rail Trail between Hyde and Daisybank. Photo by John Fridd
Otago bike trails have taken two of the three top places in a nationwide vote on Kiwis' favourite cycling destinations.

The Otago Central Rail Trail secured the top honour to be named New Zealand's Favourite Place to Cycle.

Rotorua Redwoods was a close second, while the Queenstown Trail was third.

Nearly 10,000 votes were cast during New Zealand's annual celebration of cycling, Bike Wise month (February).

Tracks competed for the national title across four categories - Nga Haerenga-NZ Cycle Trail, Off-Road or Adventure Ride, Urban Trail or Commute and On-Road Ride.

As well as the National title, the Otago Rail Trail took out the category win for Nga Haerenga - NZ Cycle Trail.

Dougal List, National Cycling Manager for the NZ Transport Agency, says the competition is a great chance for Kiwis to showcase their favourite places to cycle.

"Throughout Bike Wise Month, nearly 10,000 votes were cast to help us find NZ's Favourite Place to Cycle. This demonstrates how many Kiwis love to share their favourite spots around the country," he said.

"The Otago Central Rail Trail is a fantastic track, and is a well-deserved winner of NZ's Favourite Places to Cycle."

Kate Wilson, Otago Central Rail Trail Trust Chairperson, was delighted with the competition's outcome.

"We are so grateful to the voters for the endorsement of the work of the Trust, DoC, all the businesses, communities and stakeholders who contribute to the Trail being a world-class experience," she said.

"Being the original Great Ride, we are thrilled to still be recognised today and look forward to releasing some new plans for even better things in the next few months."

Richard Leggat, NZ Cycle Trail Chair is thrilled with this year's result, and congratulates the Otago Central Rail Trail for their win.

"Here at the NZ Cycle Trail, we have always recognised the Otago Central Rail Trail as the original Great Ride. The development of this iconic trail has paid dividends, created a fantastic tourism resource for New Zealand and led to the successful creation of 2,500km of Nga Haerenga, the NZ Cycle Trail," he said.

After nearly 2,000 nominations and nearly 10,000 votes, the 2016 category winners are:

- Nga Haerenga - NZ Cycle Trail: Otago Central Rail Trail

- Off-Road or Adventure Ride: Rotorua Redwoods

- Urban Trail or Commute: Napier

- On-Road Ride: Taupo & surrounds

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