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‘Find your wild’ on Wellington’s regional trails network

30 Nov 2018

A new Wellington regional project – Find your Wild - will lift the veil to make Wellington’s regional trails network more discoverable and accessible for those wanting to experience them on foot, bicycle, horseback, and e-bike.

escarpment trail Photo credit: Jay French

The project -  a collaboration between all nine councils in the region as well as DOC and WREDA – will see trails in the Wellington region developed and marketed as a world class experience.

It will enable more locals to get active on the trails as well as attracting more visitors to the Wellington region which already plays host to around five million domestic travellers and about 715,000 international visitors each year.

WREDA Chief Executive Lance Walker says while many visitors to Wellington come because of its reputation as the capital of urban cool, the easy access to outstanding natural forested parks, rugged coastlines and the town belt is unrivalled by any other region in New Zealand.

“With more than 25 per cent of visitors to New Zealand actively seeking walking opportunities and four per cent wanting to mountain bike, it places the Wellington region in a great place to grow these markets. This is at the heart of the Find your Wild project.

“Find your Wild will unlock economic benefits and the potential in the Wellington region is easy to see. For example, the Remutaka Cycle Trail had an estimated 89,659 domestic and international users in 2015 who generated revenue of around $3.3 million*.

“This project puts the region on the map as unmissable stop for trails experiences,” Mr Walker says.

Wellington’s regional trail network is based on top must-do trails experiences, other great trails in the region and, of course, trails that locals love to use.

Regional Trails Community and Industry Engagement Forum Chairman Russell Spratt says the trails project is a truly regional initiative which provides a great model for future regional collaboration.

 “It is exciting to be involved with all councils in the Wellington region, DOC and WREDA as they worked alongside community groups to create a single vision on how to develop and market the region’s trails network.

“The launch of Find your Wild is a big first step in creating something that will greatly benefit locals and visitors to the region now and into the future.”

Mr Walker, himself a keen trail runner, says trails tourism is big business internationally but to be successful it must be marketed as a total experience.

“For Wellington to do this effectively, trails need to be accessible, connect with places visitors wish to go, be an engaging experience, be safe, and be sustainably designed and managed.

“Find your Wild targets these issues through consistent application of standards, good interpretation and navigation aids and by ensuring associated tourism infrastructure and services that enhance the trails experience are available. This could include things such as having shuttle bus services, good access to toilet facilities and drinking water, and bike storage pods.

“It will also support and recognise local volunteer groups who have already constructed many trails to be involved in future trails development and in associated projects such as trapping pests and planting native flora, “Mr Walker says.

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana says the planned Porirua Adventure Park would add significantly to the region’s trails reputation.

“It [Porirua Adventure Park] is going through a process but we see this as an amazing opportunity for Porirua and the region - potentially 80,000 users a year, 100 new jobs and a potential economic impact of about $40 million over five years. 

“The trails that are being developed on Rangituhi already are excellent and the adventure park will enhance those, making it a real destination. A win-win for Porirua and the region.”

The new Find your Wild website, with a wide range of trails information and maps, was launched on 27 November.