The spectacular new Welcome Rock Trail – a 27km long, grade 3, single track mountain bike loop and hiking trail – has been hand built on one of New Zealand’s longest water races. Located on a high country sheep station, just outside Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island, the new trail officially opens to the public on 8 December 2014.
Tourists can find out more about taking the trail, plus booking accommodation in the Queenstown area, with specialists New Zealand In Depth (see below).
The trail takes its name from the prominent rock that dominates the skyline above the homestead, named by the early settlers who used the landmark as a meeting and trading point. The project was conceived in 2012 when a team led by Tom O’Brien imagined a trail system through Blackmore Station that followed the old gold miners’ water races.
Jonathan Kennett of the Kennett Brothers, New Zealand’s leading publisher of cycling history and guide books, graded the trail and said; “Welcome Rock Trails is the finest water race trail in NZ. It has the potential to be a world-class trail that connects people with the real New Zealand – real history, real ecosystems, a real farming family and real enthusiasm.”
The historical, ecological and recreational value of the area is of local and national significance. Tom O’Brien is the fourth generation of the family who have owned Blackmore Station since 1911, on which the new trail sits.
He explains: “When I was a young boy my mother and father had the wisdom to retire one thousand hectares (being half the farm) into a conservation covenant. Their vision was to preserve the high country allowing it to regenerate and share this with others. We wanted to be sympathetic to the landscape, sensitive to the historic and ecological features and mirror the techniques of the water race builders over a hundred years ago.”
To find out more about the new Welcome Rock Trail or any other hiking or cycling opportunities in New Zealand, contact New Zealand In Depth through www.newzealand-indepth.co.uk, call +44 (0)1298 74040 or email email@example.com.