Imagine a riding adventure through dense New Zealand bush, with only the call of native birds loud above the hum of your bike. This Summer 2015 / 2016 will see most of New Zealand’s Great Rides open, providing exciting journeys on 2,500km of trails.
These cycle trails are breathing new life into old tracks, offering leisurely travel and so much more than just biking. It all started with an idea in February 2009 to build a network of cycle trails that would provide a healthy and enjoyable way for Kiwis and International visitors to see the country, and generate economic, social and environmental benefits for our communities.
‘Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail’ originated as a partnership project between the Government and the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. The Government invested $50 million into turning this idea into a reality, with additional contributions of $30 million from local Government and cycle trail Trusts resulting in 23 Great Rides being established across the country.
In addition to the government’s investment, the commitment of the local communities involved generated a further $30 million of co-funding towards the construction of the inaugural Great Rides.
The Great Rides are the premier rides on the New Zealand Cycle Trail. They are predominantly off-road trails that showcase the very best of New Zealand’s landscape, environment, culture and heritage.
The New Zealand Cycle Trail has since expanded to include other existing off-road trails that meet the ‘Great Ride’ standard, such as the Otago Central Rail Trail – the ‘original’ Great Ride that in part provided the catalyst for this project.
Under the Network Expansion Project, on-road cycle touring routes are also being added to the New Zealand Cycle Trail, with the long-term aim of developing a nationwide cycle network, enabling locals and international visitors to explore all of New Zealand by bike.
‘Nga Haerenga’ means ‘the journeys’, both in a physical and spiritual sense, which is exactly what you will experience on the New Zealand Cycle Trail.
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your cycling holiday now!