The fastest growing participation sport in Australia – that’s cycling. And New Zealand is the perfect place for it.
Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) feels that cycling has the potential to become as big a tourist attraction as skiing and winter holidays. It has launched a major push to lure Australians over the Tasman to experience a cycling holiday.
The new drive, launched to the trade last Thursday, was backed at the weekend with a 32-page cycling lift-out in Fairfax in newspapers around Australia on Saturday.
New Zealand’s 23 Great Rides include cycling gems like the Otago Central Rail Trail, which runs in an arc between Middlemarch and Clyde in the lower South Island, along the route of the former Otago Central Railway. The trail has become a popular tourist attraction, with 10,000-12,000 users per year.
Other great rides cover 2500 kilometres of pristine trails. The diverse routes offer visitors a unique way to see untouched national parks, mountains and lakes of the North and South Islands.
Cycling is a special interest activity that TNZ feels has the potential to drive shoulder season travel and attract higher value visitors.
Following a NZD 50 million investment by the New Zealand Government and a further NZD 30 million from local communities to develop Nga Haerenga (The New Zealand Cycle Trail), more Australians are now jumping on a bike when visiting New Zealand.
New Zealand High Commissioner to Australia, Chris Seed, said the AUD 80 million investment has already made noticeable improvements.
“The development of a world-class network of cycle trails has seen nearly 10% of Australians participate in some form of cycling activity while visiting.”
Kevin Bowler, Chief Executive of Tourism New Zealand, said research had shown that nearly a quarter of all Australian visitors were open to the idea of cycling, “so there is still plenty we can do to illustrate how spectacular and appealing these two-wheeled journeys are”.
“The 23 Great Rides give Australians an active way to explore landscapes that are hidden away from roads yet close to everything – including food and wine,” he said.
“Some of the most popular trails include the abandoned gold mining country and snow-capped peaks of the Otago Central Rail Trail and West Coast Wilderness Trail, as well as the mighty rivers and geothermal hot pools on the Te Ara Ahi Trail.”
Tourism New Zealand’s new video of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnGKsvZ57LE&feature=youtu.be
Written by Peter Needham