Deputy Prime Minister Bill English's hometown of Dipton could be one of the first places to get economic benefits from the national cycleway.
Prime Minister John Key yesterday confirmed that the cycleway would start as a "network" of initiatives and an already proposed route from Lake Wakatipu to Bluff was likely to be "one of the early cabs off the rank".
The route runs through Southland and takes in a number of small towns, including Dipton, where Mr English was raised and which he still represents as the Clutha-Southland MP.
Mike Barnett, who researched the economic benefits of the route for Venture Southland, said Dipton would be one of the towns on the trail that would get an influx of cycle tourists.
The Ministry of Tourism has completed a proposal for the cycleway but Mr Key said it was not discussed by the Cabinet yesterday as cycling advocates expected. He said an announcement would come "in the next few weeks".
The proposal for a network of exceptional rides that could be linked over time is heavily modified from Mr Key's original vision after the Job Summit of a concrete path from Kaitaia to Bluff.
He admitted that the network could "take some time" but it was a "really legitimate long-term tourism attraction".
He would not say how funding would work, but said the Government would be outlining a framework.
Mr Barnett said three years' work had gone into the Southland route. If it got the go-ahead it could be ready by the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
The ride would start from Walter Peak, meaning tourists could take a boat across from Queenstown. The ride would take three to five days.