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Sought-after tourist accommodation set to open on the Timber Trail cycle way
New visitor accommodation is set to open on the popular Timber Trail - the cycle way regarded as being the best two day mountain bike ride in New Zealand.
Scheduled to open on 7th April, the Timber Trail Lodge at Piropiro is the result of a five year plan by a group of King Country locals who decided it would be a good idea to have accommodation halfway along what was then a new cycleway being built in the Pureora Forest Park.
That cycleway is the popular Timber Trail, which opened in 2013 and which attracted an estimated 6,000 cyclists in 2016.
However, with no ontrail accommodation previously available, cyclists’ only options have been to camp or leave the trail to travel to accommodation providers in the surrounding areas.
The first wing of the lodge will provides for 25 guests from 12th April, with a second wing and further 25 beds due to open in October.
It will offer a selection of room choices, group facilities, and all inclusive packages.
The $3.2 million project received a huge vote of confidence in early 2016 with a grant of $1.2 million from the Tourism Growth Partnership, aimed at increasing international visitor business.
Other funding has come from private investors, including the original core group, and around 20 other New Zealanders, both locals and from further afield.
Jonathan Kennett, cycling advocate and coauthor of Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides is an enthusiastic supporter of the development, stating “this lodge is just what the Timber Trail needs to take it from good to great amongst New Zealand’s best cycle ways.”
Bruce Maunsell, Lodge Director and Operations Manager, commented “securing the TGP grant was a significant achievement and one which signalled confidence in our vision and plans for the business.
“It underlines the Government’s commitment to cycling tourism and its determination to enable the Timber Trail to reach its potential.”
The much soughtafter visitor accommodation is situated at the halfway point of the 84 kilometre trail, at Piropiro.
The area is rich in history and runs mostly through remote and scenic Department of Conservation managed native forests.
With a strong commitment to sustainability and environmental integrity, the Lodge has been built to an environmentally sensitive design, including an offgrid power system which is planned to be running from 95% solar within the first three years.
Guests will be able to experience sustainability in practice, with systems such as a biodynamic waste water treatments providing cleansed water to fertilise plants or process through toilet cisterns.
Lodge staff, and willing visitors, will be involved in local initiatives to replant areas of forestry, control weeds and pests, and protect the native podocarp forest.
Maunsell said the lodge will provide an authentic, Kiwi, welcome at the end of the day to visitors out enjoying the trail and other local activities, adding “we’re adding comfort to their adventure.
“The lodge is a very special place and our multiskilled staff will ensure visitors receive a high level of customer service and leave feeling connected to the area, its values, and others that they shared the experience with.”
The Lodge will be open year round and is already attracting interest and bookings from New Zealand and international recreationalists, and groups looking for corporate retreats, outdoor education locations, and venues for special interest weekends.
The Timber Trail
The Timber Trail is part of Te Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail.
It is one of the 22 Great Rides that make up the network through New Zealand, which in 2015 had 1.2 million users and contributed over $35 million to regional economies.
Popular with people of all ages; families, couples, and groups of friends keen to share an adventure, the trail features several specially built pedestrian and cycle swing bridges spanning spectacular gorges, including New Zealand’s longest at 141 metres.
Excellent interpretive signage enables users to learn about the natural and human history of the area while they travel along the 84 kilometres long trail.
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 several endangered bird species including kokako, whio (Blue Duck), kaka, kakariki and North Island robin.
Located at Piropiro, in the heart of the Pureora Forest Park, the lodge has been designed with an atmosphere of informality and relaxation, and to make visitors’ Timber Trail experiences even more memorable.
Overnight visitors enjoy dinner, bed and breakfast at the lodge with other facilities including a bike storage and servicing area, a drying room for wet gear, a small provisioning store, and a selection of informal relaxation areas to mingle with other guests.
There are even charging points for ebikes.
A mix of double/twin and dorm rooms are available with shared ablutions, and from October there will be a further ten rooms each offering ensuite bathrooms.
For more information please visit: www.timbertraillodge.co.nz
Images: The Timber Trail cycle way (top and below) and an artist's impression of the completed Timber Trail Lodge (middle).
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