An opening ceremony for Clutha Gold Trail stakeholders will take place at Waihola waterfront tomorrow. The new cycling and walking track is up and running but still needs ‘‘a few finishing touches which will be completed before the summer season’’, Sarah Homer, from Clutha Development, said.
Covering 135km of easy-grade travel from Lake Roxburgh Dam to Lake Waihola reserve, the trail takes in areas of outstanding natural beauty with plenty of stops to sample history and local tourist attractions.
One of the most informed overviews of the trail comes from Lawrence farmer Murray Paterson who was honoured with a community services award last year for his efforts on the project since its inception in 2006.
‘‘You’d notice how many vehicles carrying bikes drove past on their way elsewhere.
‘‘I was aware of the success of the Otago Central Rail Trail and keen on the concept of bringing more people to our district.’’
He was involved in planning, budgeting and route selection, and liaised with volunteers, suppliers, engineers, contractors and about 50 private landowners between Roxburgh and Waihola.
‘‘The generosity and cooperation of landowners has been very affecting.
‘‘Everyone involved deserves thanks, but our [treasurers] were excellent, applying for funding and managing $12 million worth of finance.
‘‘Contractors really took pride in their responsibilities, which is important when private owners are sharing their land.’’
The trail can be extended to the Roxburgh Gorge Trail, which incorporates a jetboat transfer — one example of the entrepreneurial opportunities the eco-tourism attraction promotes.
‘‘There’s a lot of special bits, but the section on the old railway between Round Hill and Mt Stewart will be a favourite, with two tunnels and the old viaduct to ride over.’’