Tauranga Moana Coastal Cycle Trail, Tauranga
Grade one to two, 57 km
Waihi Beach to Tauranga via Matakana Island. Two ferry trips are required. Bound to be popular among national and international tourists. It will provide options for both daytrips and overnighters.
Old Motu Coach Road, Opotiki/Gisborne
Grade three, 90–130 km
Matawai to Opotiki. It includes backcountry roads, an old military track and the Pakihi Track (once popular with mountain bikers, then closed by a storm, and now to be resurrected). This is the hilliest of all the rides, but also one of the least expensive to construct. The area is scenic and packed full of history.
Thermal by Bike, Rotorua
Grade two or three, 75 km
Rotorua to Orakei Korako. Hopefully a link can be developed from the end of this trail to Taupo, via Huka Falls. Much of this ride is on quiet backcountry roads. It will pass through four unique geothermal areas, and is bound to be popular with cyclists from overseas.
Lake Track, Taupo
Grade three, 100 km
This trail goes part of the way around Lake Taupo. The first 14 km (W2K) was built in 2008 and certainly proved that the applicant (Bike Taupo) knows how to build great tracks. The next 15 km, to Kawakawa Bay, is currently being upgraded. Funding is needed for the rest. Taupo is already a popular destination, so this track is sure to be a success.
Heretaunga Ararua: Land of a Hundred Pathways, Hawkes Bay
Loop ride from the Tukituki Valley via farm roads and a coastal cycleway. It is very early days for this ride, so the results of the feasibility study will soon decide whether it’s possible or not.
Dun Mountain and Tasman Cycle Loop, Nelson/Tasman
There are two separate rides here. The first loop is well-known: A grade two ride up Dun Mountain to Third House, followed by grade three up to Coppermine Saddle, and then grade four down to the Maitai Valley and back into Nelson. It’s a world-class mountain bike ride, and is already being upgraded. The second loop is a grade one and two, 170 km tour from Nelson down to Tapawera, up to Motueka/Kaiteriteri and then back to Nelson. It will use a mixture of rail trail, new cycle path, and a quiet backcountry road.
Old Ghost Road, West Coast
Grade three, 60 km
This trail goes through pristine native forest between Lyall on the Buller River and Mokihinui on the West Coast. Construction started last year, by re-opening 15 km of the old Lyall mining track. Now they have funding to build 30 km of completely new track, and will then have to upgrade the old Mokihinui Track, which is currently grade five! When finally finished, this will be a fantastic wilderness ride, providing a great extension to either the Denniston Shortcut or the Heaphy Track.
Westland Wilderness Trail, Greymouth
Grade one or two, 140 km
This trail goes from Greymouth, along the coast, and then inland via Kumara and Lake Kaniere to Ross. Planned to be a West Coast version of the Otago Rail Trail, only with better scenery (and worse weather).
Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail, Mt Cook
Grade one, 300 km
From Mount Cook Village, this trail crosses the Tasman River, heads down to Ohau and eventually Oamaru. This bold concept is likely to change during the feasibility study but the basic concept is appealing. Although it is the longest of all the trails, it is mostly downhill, and there is usually a tail wind.
The Wakatipu Trail, Queenstown
The Trails Trust put forward a proposal including six new trails, although not all of these will necessarily be funded. Certainly a grade two loop from Frankton to Arrowtown to the bungy bridge and back along the Kawarau River would prove very popular and has strong local support.
Roxburgh Gorge Trail, Central Otago
Grade one to two, 33 km
Alexandra and the Central Otago Rail Trail, to Roxburgh township. Some readers may have already checked out the track to Mt Rock, which would be the start of this ride. Brilliant scenery and fascinating mining cottages, but very challenging track building terrain.
Clutha Gold Trail, Otago
Grade one, 73 km
Roxburgh to Lawrence. This easy trail, in combination with the Roxburgh Gorge Trail, provides a logical extension of the Central Otago Rail Trail back towards Dunedin, via interesting small towns that would benefit from increased tourism.
Keep in mind that at this stage these 13 trails have only been given enough funding for feasibility studies. One or two of them may not be able to proceed because of problems with land access, or terrible terrain, which may lead to an unreasonably large budget. If they don’t stack up, the government has plenty of other trails to choose from.