WAIROA DISTRICT COUNCIL
A new mountain bike park may prove a double attraction for the small town of Wairoa.
Wairoa Mountain Bike Park opens on April 7, and, from the highest point of its 7 kilometres of trails, riders will be able to see Rocket Lab launches from Mahīa.
Adventure Wairoa president Russell McCracken said the park was two years in the making and would be good for locals, as well as tourists.
“We found a block of land that the council owned, pretty close to central Wairoa, it had pine trees on it … and we joined with the Wairoa District Council to form and run the mountain bike park there.”
McCracken said Adventure Wairoa raised about $170,000 to create the park, which is located on a 26-hectare site on Fraser St, on the southern edge of the town.
That cost did not include labour fees of about $30,000.
The park, which will be free to use, is loosely based on Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Red Woods Mountain Bike Park.
“We’re wanting to get access to the community basically, because there’s a lot of people in Wairoa that can’t afford bikes and aren’t really into cycling. So this is a way of us supporting that,” McCracken said.
Adventure Wairoa lent mountain bikes to members who did not have their own, he said.
Wairoa’s only other cycle trail was along the town’s riverbank, and McCracken hoped the park would link in with other bike parks in the wider Hawke’s Bay region.
Jeff Carter, of Southstar Trails, designed the park, which has more than 7 kilometres of track.
At the moment mountain bikers would be able to traverse grade two, three and four trails, with more grade four and five trails possibly being built at a later date.
Adventure Wairoa was also hoping to eventually install free wi-fi in the area.
The prospect of an economy spike for the town of 4200 or so people was also exciting, McCracken said.
“Rocket Lab is really starting to take off, which is going to be an added attraction for people coming.
“You see a rocket take off and it’s gone within seven minutes, so it’s going to be good for people to come to Wairoa and think ‘what else can I do?'”
At the highest points of the park, riders would be able to see rockets launch from Māhia, he said.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said the park was “so exciting”.
“It’s good as any in New Zealand, it’s just huge. I can’t believe that [Adventure Wairoa] had the vision to do something like this.”
Wairoa was still “pretty undiscovered”, but ventures like the park and Rocket Lab were slowly changing that.
McCracken said the idea was sparked by a group of cyclists who, fed up with travelling long distances to get to a mountain bike park, “decided we needed one here”.
“It was basically a matter of get off your butts and do something.”
* The park opens on April 7 at 10am.