Te Awa Cycleway gets boost from Waikato motelliers
The Te Awa Great NZ River Ride hopes to boost Hamilton's tourism numbers, and local moteliers are backing the track.
Four sections of the cycleway have been completed: Avantidrome to Leamington, Leamington to Lake Karapiro, Horotiu to Hamilton Equestrian Centre and the Hamilton route.
As well as the thousands of users utilising the tracks each year, Te Awa anticipates new tourism and commercial opportunities will develop as a result.
The Waikato Motel Association believe the cycleway will give the region an added edge, and donated the funds raised from their annual Christmas Charity Auction to the Te Awa Trust.
Motel association president Narinder Sagoo said the association raised $1868. He believes the cycleway will become a Waikato "legacy".
"It's so important for people to realise we have a natural feature in Hamilton. A big thing for our association is connecting the river to the city," he said.
He and fellow motelier Mark Boe from Camelot on Ulster encourage their guests to see the region from two-wheels.
Te Awa trustee and Olympic cycling gold medallist Sarah Ulmer said $7 million has already been spent on the cycleway.
A million-dollar cable arch bridge will connect Ngaruawahia and Horotiu, and will be the longest cycle bridge in New Zealand.
"Once finished, we hope it will be a really big draw card," Ulmer said.
The concrete track suits all ages and abilities, from mothers with strollers, to cyclists in training.
Ulmer has ridden the completed sections many times and is looking forward to the day when she can ride the full route.
"Every spot is beautiful in it's own rights. Every section has a little something," she said.
"Once we connect certain destinations, we will realise its true potential."
When completed, the Te Awa Cycleway will stretch 70kms along the Waikato River, from Ngaruawahia in the north to Horahora in the south.
There are currently bike depots located at the Hamilton Gardens and Novotel Hamilton Tainui for bike hire.
Ulmer said tourists will easily be able to spend a couple of days in the region, taking a new approach to sight-seeing.
For further information, visit: www.te-awa.org.nz.
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