New Welcome Rock cycling trail launched in New Zealand

Fans of cycling and hiking now have a new reason to visit New Zealand with the launch of a brand new mountain trail this season.

Welcome Rock trail, New Zealand (1)

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.

Welcome Rock Trail, NZ

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.
hot tub on Welcome Rock, New Zealand
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, call +44 (0)1298 74040 or email

on Welcome Rock Trail, New Zealand

Enjoy the view from Pokhara Lodge, Tiger Mountain in Nepal

This stunning mountain hideaway, set amoungst the Nepalese Himalayas, is leading the way in responsible tourism

Perched on a mountain ridge 1,000 ft above the Pokhara Valley in Nepal, the Pokhara Lodge at Tiger Mountain demonstrates daily why it has won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence every year since 2011. Guests rave about the beautiful setting, the friendly staff and the delicious food – but it’s a dedication to supporting local community initiatives, and helping preserve local wildlife, that really sets it apart from the rest.

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Since the beginning, the Lodge, its staff and guests, have been involved in supporting various projects including funding local schools, school teachers, health posts, community forestry projects, forest rangers and a forest nursery,

The lodge’s trained guides are regularly involved in conservation research by monitoring butterfly and wildfowl populations for organisations including Birdlife International.


The lodge consists of stone cottages, clustered in the style of a Nepalese village, around a central lodge, bar and dining room. All cottages have en-suite bathrooms, private verandas and Himalayan views. Each cottage is furnished with Tibetan rugs, handmade wooden furniture and original artworks.


Will you ever have a swim in such a glorious location as this? The outdoor swimming pool reflects the snowcapped mountain backdrop making a morning dip even more exhilerating! For cosy evenings the main lodge offers the chance to snuggle up to a warm log fire and browse the Colonel Jimmy library full of mountaineering literature.

Infinity Pool


You can enjoy breakfast with a view from the terrace, while in the evening, the terrace is candlelit for cocktails and dinner. Daily menus include Nepali and continental dishes made using fresh, local, organic ingredients such as homegrown herbs and garden salads. And the bar remains open until the last guest retires…

Things to do

Guests can take day hikes or bird walks with local, trained guides. Yoga and meditation sessions are available, as well as Ayurvedic and Shiatsu massage. The more adventurous can try paragliding or microlight flights for a truly awesome experience in the mountains. Trips to nearly Pokhara can be arranged for sightseeing, museums and to visit the lively lakeside area.

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Pokhara Lodge and guests’ donations pay for an additional teacher at the local Shiva Shatki Primary School
  • The Lodge and guest donations have also funded the rebuilding of the school block at Amar Jyoti Secondary School, providing electricity, whiteboards, improved classrooms and desks – this means more children can complete their main schooling in the local community
  • The Lodge works with the International Trust for Nature Conservation and its Shillinge Project, which aims to combine non-timber forest product development with longer-term community forest management practices.
  • Guides monitor butterfly and wildfowl populations, providing data for conservation charities and projects including Birdlife International


For more information, availability and booking, visit or e: