Tim­ber Trail Lodge

Five years ago, a group of King Coun­try lo­cals de­cided it would be a good idea to have ac­com­mo­da­tion half­way along a new cy­cle­way be­ing built in the Pure­ora For­est Park.

Let's Travel - - DESTINATION KING COUNTRY -

That cy­cle­way is the pop­u­lar Tim­ber Trail, which opened in 2013 and is now widely re­garded as be­ing the best two­day moun­tain bike ride in New Zealand. The group of lo­cals went on to form a pro­ject team, which has planned and over­seen the devel­op­ment of the Tim­ber Trail Lodge at Piropiro. The lodge of­fi­cially on April the 7th.

Book­ings are be­ing taken now for the first wing of the lodge which pro­vides for 25 guests from April 12th, with a sec­ond wing and fur­ther 25 beds due to open in Oc­to­ber. A se­lec­tion of room choices, group fa­cil­i­ties and all-in­clu­sive pack­ages are avail­able.

An es­ti­mated 6,000 peo­ple cy­cled the trail in 2016 and, with no on-trail ac­com­mo­da­tion avail­able at that time, cy­clists’ only op­tions were to camp or leave the trail to travel to ac­com­mo­da­tion providers in the sur­round­ing ar­eas.

Jonathan Ken­nett, cy­cling ad­vo­cate and co-au­thor of Clas­sic New Zealand Moun­tain Bike Rides is an en­thu­si­as­tic sup­porter, “This lodge is just what the Tim­ber Trail needs to take it from good to great amongst New Zealand’s best cy­cle ways.”

The $3.2m lodge pro­ject re­ceived a huge vote of con­fi­dence in early 2016 with a grant of $1.2m from the Tourism Growth Part­ner­ship, aimed at in­creas­ing in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tor busi­ness. Other fund­ing has come from pri­vate in­vestors, in­clud­ing the orig­i­nal core group, and around 20 other Ki­wis, both lo­cals and from fur­ther afield.

Bruce Maun­sell, di­rec­tor and op­er­a­tions man­ager, said, “Se­cur­ing the TGP grant was a sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ment and one which sig­nalled con­fi­dence in our vi­sion and plans for the busi­ness. It un­der­lines the Gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to cy­cling tourism and its de­ter­mi­na­tion to en­able the Tim­ber Trail to reach its po­ten­tial.”

The much sought-af­ter vis­i­tor ac­com­mo­da­tion is si­t­u­ated at the half­way point of the 84km trail, at Piropiro. The area is rich in his­tory and runs mostly through re­mote and scenic De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion man­aged na­tive forests.

With a strong com­mit­ment to sus­tain­abil­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal in­tegrity, the lodge has been built to an en­vi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive de­sign, in­clud­ing an off-grid power sys­tem, which is planned to be run­ning from 95% so­lar within the first three years.

Guests will be able to ex­pe­ri­ence sus­tain­abil­ity in prac­tice, with sys­tems such as a bio­dy­namic waste­water treat­ments pro­vid­ing cleansed wa­ter to fer­tilise plants or process through toi­let cis­terns. Lodge staff, and will­ing vis­i­tors, will be in­volved in lo­cal ini­tia­tives to re­plant ar­eas of forestry, con­trol weeds and pests, and pro­tect the na­tive Podocarp for­est.

Maun­sell said the lodge will pro­vide an au­then­tic Kiwi wel­come at the end of the day to vis­i­tors out en­joy­ing the trail and other lo­cal ac­tiv­i­ties, “We’re adding com­fort to their ad­ven­ture.”

“The lodge is a very spe­cial place and our multi-skilled staff will en­sure vis­i­tors re­ceive a high level of cus­tomer ser­vice and leave feeling con­nected to the area, its val­ues, and oth­ers that they shared the ex­pe­ri­ence with.”

The lodge is open year-round and is al­ready at­tract­ing in­ter­est and book­ings from NZ and in­ter­na­tional recre­ation­al­ists, and groups look­ing for cor­po­rate re­treats, out­door ed­u­ca­tion lo­ca­tions, and venues for spe­cial in­ter­est week­ends.

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