Bodies on bikes to boost tourism in Matamata-Piako with Hauraki Rail Trail extended from Te Aroha to Matamata
Matamata-Piako mayor Jan Barnes said the rail trail had the potential to boost tourism opportunities for the district.
The Hauraki Rail Trail is a 175km cycle track, in five sections.
It is governed by the Hauraki Rail Trail Charitable Trust.
Its settler councils, who all share funding, include Matamata-Piako, Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki.
Kopu to Kaiaua leg of the trail is under construction and Te Aroha to Matamata is in the development phase.
Barnes said she hoped the Te Aroha-Matamata stage would begin in the second half of 2018, depending on government funding.
She said a change in government has thrown a spanner in the works, but that funding would be granted.
“We are spade ready and ready to go,” said Barnes.
“There are no indicators we are not going to get it.”
The leg to Matamata will begin from the Te Aroha Domain, where the Paeroa-Te Aroha track ends.
It would run along Old Te Aroha Road onto Mace Road, into Te Aroha West, Manawaru, Tower Rd and end at i-Site.
She said from there they hoped it would continue to Piarere and Hinuera.
Eventually it could link with with the Te Awa Ride, incorporating the Karapiro and river trails.
She said NZTA have factored in the cycle track into plans for the new roundabout in Piarere.
She said there have been teething problems with the Paeroa-Te Aroha ride.
It lacked the “wow factor” of Karangahake Gorge, bird life and coast line along other stages of the trail.
However additional landscaping and heritage information can be added after completion.
She said she welcomed ideas from people within the district.
The council was already speaking with people regarding tourism opportunities and linking to bed and breakfasts.
But Barnes said the district was lacking a hotel.
She wanted to encourage more people to explore bed and breakfast opportunities and farm stays.
She said tourists and visitors needed to be enticed to stay overnight and take in all the districts had to offer.
She wanted to encourage people to explore the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, using the Matamata-Piako as a base.
“We have so much here, tramping, the hot water, equine, Wairere Falls and golf courses.
“There are opportunities abounding,” she said.