New mountain bike trail ‘unique and stunning’

Bush ride . . . Paul McGarry of Gore goes for a training ride on the Hokonui Water Race Trail which will be officially opened on Sunday. PHOTO: EWAN PEARCE

The mountain bike trail being opened on Sunday is a ‘‘unique and stunning’’ ride, Richard Pasco says.

The Hokonui Mountain Bike Club has finished an eight-year project to build the Hokonui Water Race Trail.

The 7.5km track starts at the end of Pope Rd and finishes in Dolamore Park.

Mr Pasco, the bike club’s president, said there were many cycling trails but not many in the bush.

The idea for the track was mooted in 2006 after the club had finished building a smaller track in the hills.

The Department of Conservation gave the group the go-ahead to build a longer track and the first sod was turned in 2014.

‘‘We spent many, many years walking through the bush to look for a track line,’’ Mr Pasco said.

‘‘The idea was to link town right out to Dolamore Park.’’

The bush-clad hills were a ‘‘tough environment’’ in which to build a track.

‘‘It’s stunning in there with the birds and the native bush, but it was a very challenging project to build to get it to a standard.’’

Part of the challenge was to get the track as flat as possible so all abilities could ride it.

Large bags of gravel were helicoptered in.

‘‘That’s another reason it took so long . . . then we spread them.’’

Thousands of volunteer hours had gone into building the track.

‘‘We just didn’t have time or the funds to get it professionally made in one big hit.

‘‘It was the funders and the community that got this track together,’’ he said.

It was mostly a grade two trail.

The club had planned to lay traps along the length of the trail to catch predators.

‘‘We like to use the bush and have fun in there, but we also want to help get rid of the pests.’’

The Hokonui Water Race Trail will be opened on Sunday at 10.30am, at the Pope Rd end.