Editorial: Cycleways enrich Bay's tourism

By Roger Moroney

Roger Moroney.
Roger Moroney.

About 18 months ago, when summer was in town, a group of folk who described themselves as "mature cyclists" were also in town.

They had come quite a distance for a bit of a pedal in Hawke's Bay.

They'd arrived from Queensland.

It transpired that every second year or so they ventured across the Tasman to ride the trails of New Zealand.

They had previously done the Central Otago rail trail journey and it was while there they started hearing about the place on the eastern coast of the island up north which had a colourful network of trails.

So they checked it out on-line and decided that, yep, Hawke's Bay it would be.

It was while on line they also saw the scenery and diversity.

Country trails and coastal trails ... and a winery trail.

One bloke told me they took water along but were keen to stop for a cool glass of chardonnay somewhere.

Twenty years earlier, if anyone had suggested to me that a dozen people would arrive in the Bay from just outside Brisbane to ride bicycles on off-road trails and look at the scenery I would have suggested they had sipped more than a glass of chardy ... more like a bottle.

But people do now travel to cycle and it is a part of the tourism industry which appears to be growing.

You'll see the campervans and cars rolling through the region, often with a bicycle or two clamped to the stern.

It is about holidaying with a point of difference, and of keeping fit and accordingly earning that glass of chardonnay.

We were fortunate in the Bay to have had people with vision, like former Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott and the Rotary folks, who sparked the development of the now more than 200km of trails across the region.

The Napier, Hastings and Hawke's Bay Regional councils all got aboard and $5.5million later we have a network of walk and cycleways which are the envy of many a region.

And while they are free to use, the visitors who arrive to enjoy them stimulate our hospitality industry.

Like the line in the film Field of Dreams declared "build it and they will come".

We did, and they do.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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