The new Kawarau Gorge Trail has officially commenced, linking Queenstown to Cromwell along 32 kilometres of awe-inspiring and often challenging terrain through the Kawarau Gorge.
An official ceremony was held yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 19th December) at Oxbow Adventure Co – which is on the cycle route – attended by about 50 guests.
Turning the ‘first turf’ for the trail was Member of Parliament for Southland, Joseph Mooney supported by Glyn Lewers, Mayor of Queenstown Lake District Council and Tim Cadogan, Central Otago District Mayor.
The task of transforming the spectacular terrain into a cycle trail has been awarded to two contractors; Ellis Mining Ltd have been awarded construction of the suspension bridges & structures with Wilson Keen Contracting managing the earthworks. Project management is provided by Southern Land.
Construction will proceed at full throttle from early January 2024, and it is expected the construction phase will take two years.
Southern Lakes Trails Chair, Aaron Halstead is delighted to see the construction commence. “The Kawarau Gorge Trail has been years in the planning and to see it come to fruition is fantastic”.
“We are grateful to the landowners who we’ve worked with over these years to grant us access for the development and building of the trail”, adds Aaron.
Guests included not only landowners but trails funding partners; NZ Government, Central Lakes Trust and Otago Community Trust and other supporting parties such as Waka Kotahi – NZ Transport Agency, the Department of Conservation, and nearby tourism authorities.
The Kawarau Gorge Trail is a pivotal component of a game-changing project that connects the four Great Rides in the Otago region, creating a 530km of continuous trail network across Queenstown, Central Otago and connecting through to Waihola near Dunedin.