15 May 16: Timber Trail Lodge to be built in Pureora Forest Park, central North Island

The 80 bed, Timber Trail Lodge is being built by a group of New Zealand, mainly King Country, investors, at Piropiro, the mid-point of the Timber Trail. The first stage, including the lodge hub and 10 rooms, for up to 25 guests, will open during the summer of 2016/7.

The Timber Trail, on Te Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycleway, is an 84 km, 2 day mountain bike ride that, after three years, is already attracting over 8000 riders per year to Pureora Forest Park, in the central North Island.

The Trail opened in 2013, at a cost of $5 million. It includes several specially built pedestrian and cycle swing bridges spanning spectacular gorges, including New Zealand’s longest at 141m. Excellent interpretive signage, provided by DoC, enables users to learn about the natural and human history of the area while they travel along the trail.

Further development of the trail, and the vital economic benefits it offers to the north King Country region, has been constrained due to a lack of accommodation.

Jonathan Kennett, cycling advocate and co-author of Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides is an enthusiastic supporter of the project. “This lodge is just what the Timber Trail needs to take it from good to great amongst New Zealand’s best cycleways.”

As well as providing an accommodation option for the growing numbers of New Zealanders who are discovering and enjoying the Timber Trail, the lodge fits well with the burgeoning cycle tourism sector. It will provide attractive options for higher value international visitors and help to grow the New Zealand tourism industry towards its Tourism 2025 objectives.

The new facility will also enable economic development of the region through creation and expansion of support businesses, and other enterprises and employment. Forecast to employ up to 6 staff during peak periods, the lodge will also work closely with transport operators and tour companies. Construction, and sub contracted services, will be carried out by local King Country businesses. The developers have worked closely with DoC to plan the project, and ensure it meets strict environmental requirements.

Pureora Forest Park is a 78,000 hectare area of protected forest that includes some of the largest most outstanding tracts of New Zealand podocarp forest. It was the location of anti-logging protests in the 1970s that resulted in the end of native forest logging, and the permanent preservation of the remaining forest. The area is home to a number of endangered bird species including kokako, whio (Blue Duck), kaka, kakariki and North Island robin.

The area is also rich in Maori history, with Mt Pureora being of particular significance to the Rereahu iwi.

The Timber Trail runs mostly through Department of Conservation estate, from Pureora in the north, to Ongarure in the south. It is a grade 3 trail, making it suitable for moderately experienced and capable riders. It has also become a popular walking trail, for both one day and multi day walks.

The Timber Trail Lodge development is being supported by a grant from the Government’s Tourism Growth Partnership Fund, (TGP), aimed at increasing international visitor business. The funding will also enable the project to be completed within a shorter timeframe, with building expected to begin in June this year.

Timber Trail Lodge – Comfort and Adventure in Pureora Forest Park
www.timbertraillodge.co.nz

For further comment please contact:
Bruce Maunsell, Timber Trail Adventures Ltd, 0274 887 663, bruce@timbertraillodge.co.nz
Kiri Goulter, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism, 07 843 0056, kiri@hamiltonwaikato.com
Claire McKnight, Visit Ruapehu, 0211 364656, claire@visitruapehu.com
Warren Furner, Ruapehu District Council, 07 895 8188, warrenf@ruapehudc.govt.nz