4 Nov 2016

Cycle tourism a potential boon for the regions

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 3:30 pm on 4 November 2016

Sarah Bennett is an independent travel writer, specialising in New Zealand travel, and she says New Zealand has some of the best cycling tourism in the world.

And she should know, she’s ridden 21 of the 22 cycle trails in the country.

The Nelson side of the Spooners Tunnel features a specially made boardwalk entry and exit.

The Nelson side of the Spooners Tunnel features a specially made boardwalk entry and exit. Photo: RNZ/Tracy Neal

“The beauty of the New Zealand cycle trail for me is the diversity, what we’ve really noticed since the New Zealand cycle trails came on line is the number of older people or families or children riding.”

Bennett rates the new Hawke’s Bay trail and the great taste trail in Nelson very highly.

“For me those are the trails that are most accessible and I guess they’re a game changer because they’re entry level and they are really sucking people into cycling in a way that I just don’t think we have before.”

For the more adventurous the “Jewel in the Crown” is the Old Ghost Rd, she says. It’s an old gold miners’ route, planned but never completed, in the Buller region.

“They have created a cross-country spectacular that is second to none, this thing is absolutely incredible.

“A lot of these harder new trails are about a hybrid activity, which is bike packing; you get some awesome slow and cruisey riding and it’s also about being in these places - that’s why these back country trails are so special.”

She says the cycle trails give New Zealand the opportunity become the world’s premier off road destination and disperse tourists to less visited parts of the country.  

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