Twenty years of Otago Rail Trail

CHE BAKER
Last updated 11:54 28/05/2014
rail trail
CHE BAKER/ Fairfax NZ
TRAIL CELEBRATION: Commonwealth Games 10,000m gold medallist Dick Taylor and Otago Central Rail Trail Trust founding member Daphne Hull stand on the trail in Alexandra.

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Twenty years ago cycle trails were not a huge attraction in New Zealand.

Now the Otago Central Rail Trail brings thousands of tourists to Central Otago and has put New Zealand on the map as a cycle trail destination.

Otago Central Rail Trail Trust founding member Daphne Hull said "trails like this weren't known and recognised in New Zealand".

This year the trust will mark its 20th anniversary of being formed.

When the trail was first started, those along it offered their spare bedroom or old sheds for accommodation and provided tin coffee in a cup.

Now those along the trail offered excellent accommodation and "has some of the best coffee makers in New Zealand", Hull said.

"There was no idea it would grow to where it is now. It did grow very quickly," she said.

On Saturday night 1974 Commonwealth Games 10,000m gold medallist Dick Taylor, of Canterbury, was the guest speaker at a dinner at Orchard Gardens to mark the 20 anniversary and launch of the trail's brand.

While Taylor said he had never attempted the trail, he was going to.

"I definitely want to do it. Everyone has to do this one. It's always going to be popular," he said.

Hull said the marketing group, which consists of representatives from the trust, DOC, Operators Group, Tourism Central Otago and Enterprise Dunedin have been working for some months on a brand that represented the qualities that the trail offers.

"The very distinctive brand was well received by all present and will be used on all marketing material and by businesses wishing to be aligned with the qualities and experiences the Otago Central Rail Trail has to offer," she said.

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