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National Cycleway Success For Mackenzie Region

“This is the biggest thing to happen to Mackenzie tourism since The Hermitage was built and a guy called James Mackenzie rustled some sheep!” said a rapt Phil Brownie after hearing the news that the Mackenzie region has been shortlisted for the New Zealand Cycle Trail project.

Mr Brownie, the General Manager of Destination Mt Cook Mackenzie, received word yesterday (11 February) that the region’s ‘Alps to Ocean’ cycleway proposal was one of 13 to be shortlisted from 54 applications nationwide.

The successful applicants now move forward to the feasibility study stage which will confirm whether their visions can be priced and delivered as promised.

Mr Brownie believes the proposed Alps to Ocean cycleway could spell huge benefits for the Mackenzie and Waitaki regions.

“The cycleway establishment committee has worked really hard on the proposal and we’re thrilled to get it over the line.

If we’re ultimately successful, we’ll be able to create something special for Kiwis and overseas visitors to enjoy as well as providing huge opportunities to build stronger and wealthier communities and a better place to live in,” he says.

The committee’s aim is ‘to create New Zealand’s ultimate cycleway from the splendour of the country’s highest peak, through magnificently varied terrain to the coast – and the colonial heritage of an authentic Victorian town’.

The proposed cycle trail would cover 300km from Aoraki Mount Cook to Oamaru and would showcase the diversity of the Mackenzie and Waitaki regions, from pre-European history to some of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural landscapes and wildlife.

Mr Brownie says the cycle trail is still very much at concept stage and there’s a lot of work still to be done.

“Nothing is set in stone yet but the vast majority of the proposed trail traverses national park land, crown land administered by the Department of Conservation, crown land administered by Land Information New Zealand, quiet county roads, and Meridian Energy access roads.

“There are lots of specifications that need to be considered in order to build the trail.  Based on experience elsewhere, most trail users would be groups of novice riders between 40 to 65 years old who bike between 30 to 50km per day.  That means if we were to build a Grade 1 Trail, it would need to be two metres wide and have a gradient of no more than four percent.

Our utopia would be no more than 15km between lattes and plenty of accommodation, services and transport options for people to enjoy which would encourage them to stay longer.

“A lot of time and thought has gone into our proposal and I’d like to acknowledge and thank our partners – the Department of Conservation, Meridian Energy, Mackenzie and Waitaki district councils, Tourism Waitaki and, of course, our tourism operators – their support has been invaluable and they’ve given up so much of their time.  It’s been a real team effort.”

For more information about the Mackenzie region visit www.mtcooknz.com

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