21 April 2024

Final link in 65km Te Awa River Ride trail is now open

The long awaited final section of the 65km Te Awa River Ride trail from Ngaruawahia in the north to Lake Karapiro in the south is now complete.

The completion of the final section means Hamiltonians can now safely walk, bike and scooter the entire 65km path, that began 13 years ago with a vision from Te Awa River Ride Trust, unlocking the door to the wider Waikato and Waipa regions.  

Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council were joined by mana whenua from both districts, key partners, and contractors this morning to bless the completion of the Hamilton and Waikato sections of this trail. 

Councils were joined by mana whenua to bless the completion (Photo/HCC)

“I was present at the very first section opening in Cambridge back in 2009 with Waikato Regional Council. So, to be here today, 13 years later, and see the full path through to completion, as the Mayor of Hamilton, is exceptionally special,” said Hamilton Mayor, Paula Southgate at the bridge joining the two sections over the Mangaonua Stream.   

Along with the work put in to complete the new sections of path, new gates and signage have also been installed on the existing boardwalk through Hammond Park encouraging people on bikes and scooters to ‘walk their wheels’.   

The boardwalk takes users over one of Hamilton’s oldest gully systems known to be a roosting area for the native long-tailed bat (pekapeka-toa-roa).   

Te Awa River Ride
Trail follows Waikato River & offers stunning views (Photo courtesy:Te Awa Ride Trust)

Within this one-hectare area are more than 145 different native plant species, making this one of the city’s richest forests. It’s cultural heritage dates to the 16th century when the area became the land of the Ngaati Wairere people.   

It’s also a corridor for tuuii and kuukuu (wood pigeon, also known as kereru) and occasionally koomako (bellbird) and kaakaa travelling into the city.  

Trail-users will be crossing bridges enroute (Photo courtesy: Te Awa Ride Trust)

Te Awa River Ride  is one of most accessible and scenic cycling and walking trails in New Zealand and expected to become one of the country’s top cycle destinations. It is the longest concrete path in the country winding its way from Ngaruawahia to Lake Karapiro – via Hamilton, Tamahere, Cambridge, following New Zealand’s largest river, Waikato.

The entire route is full of variety, as trail-users will pass through native bat colonies, traverse gullies, native forests, cross bridges and elevated boardwalks.

Behind this project, is the Te Awa River Ride Charitable Trust and the idea of opening up more of the Waikato River for the community to enjoy, was that of Simon Perry, now Chairman or the Trust. 

The Te Awa River Ride has been supported by the Waikato community and local councils of Waikato District, Hamilton City and Waipa, among others.

A formal event will be held in March next year to celebrate the Te Awa River Ride.

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