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New Zealand boosts funds for bike trail to Bay of Islands

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Cycle touring on the New Zealand Cycle Trail network. Shutterstock. Cycle Traveller

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says his government will inject an additional NZ$3 million into completing a long distance bike trail as the country continues to cement its place as one of the world's most desirable bicycle touring destinations.

The PM, who is also the Minister for Tourism, said the funds will be distributed as part of the 2015/16 budget to complete the Twin Coast Cycle Trail Pou Herenga Tai on the North Island. About 41km of the trail is already open to the public, with roughly 43km awaiting construction.

Once finished, the trail will stretch for 84km from Hokianga Harbour on the west coast of New Zealand across to the Bay of Islands at Opua on the east coast.

“The Twin Coast Cycle Trail is one of 23 Great Rides across New Zealand, 18 of which are already complete and open and which cover more than 2,500km of country,” Prime Minister Key said.

“The Great Rides are the premier rides on the New Zealand Cycle Trail and have proven to be a significant driver of local and international tourism.”

Growing New Zealand as a bicycle touring destination has been a key policy for the government since it launched the New Zealand Cycle Trail project in 2009. The project aims to develop a high quality tourism asset that will create jobs and boost economic growth across the regions.

The funding boost adds to the NZ$4 million already committed to bike trail development in the Northlands and brings the government's total bicycle trail investment to NZ$55 million, nationally.

Prime Minister Key said towns along established bike trails, such as the Otago Central Rail Trail, have benefited economically from cyclists and the same was hoped for the towns of Kawakawa, Kaikohe, Okaihau and Horeke along the Twin Coasts Cycle Trail.

“Reports from individual trails indicate more than 1,200 jobs have been created and that the trails are boosting regional economies. They are also proving increasingly popular with tourists,” he said.

The Twin Coasts Cycle Trail is currently open between Opua and Otiria, Aerodrome and Okaihau, and some parts near Horeke.

In addition to the government's funding, the Far North District Council will be responsible for raising the remaining funds of about NZ$1.8 million to complete the Twin Coast Cycle Trail.

Image: Bicycle touring on the New Zealand Cycle Trail network. Source: Shutterstock.

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