On beauty’s trail

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

WHEN I first learned about the Waikato River Trails project I knew that the walk­way/ cy­cle­way would be­come a must-do for Kiwi tram­pers and cy­clists.

Hav­ing walked tracks in New Zealand that seemed al­most as busy as Ti­rau on a long week­end I was de­ter­mined to take in the trails be­fore they be­came too pop­u­lar.

And you can’t get in any ear­lier than walk­ing a trail be­fore it is fin­ished which the Waikato River Trails Trust of­fered on Fri­day as part of In­volve ‘10.

With trust gen­eral man­ager Glynn Wooller as guide, more than 20 walk­ers set off from Ara­puni head­ing north.

The trek took us first along the edge of a dairy farm with re­gen­er­at­ing bush on our right.

Through these trees were glimpses of the Waikato River. From around a bend the river opened up, it’s fast flow a topic of con­ver­sa­tion as an is­land split the wa­ter’s course.

From there we dropped down to river level and moved un­der the canopy of a patch of young for­est.

Nu­mer­ous na­tive birds could be heard, es­pe­cially tui.

In all the re­turn walk is about 4km, our progress halted by a bridge await­ing com­ple­tion.

This new sec­tion of track was due to open this month but a 430-me­tre board­walk sec­tion is yet to be built.

At one of our trail stops Mr Wooller ex­plained that track build­ing is a com­plex and time con­sum­ing process.

As lit­tle as pos­si­ble veg­e­ta­tion needs to be re­moved be­fore the track is shaped he said. Some­times this is done by contractors and at other times by trust staff us­ing hand tools.

Re­tain­ing walls need to be built, above and be­low the track and then metal laid.

As lit­tle as 15m of track can take sev­eral weeks to com­plete so with a full trail net­work of 100km that rep­re­sents a con­sid­er­able time re­quire­ment.

ABOVE: The short sec­tion of trail of­fered sev­eral views of the Waikato River. RIGHT: The full net­work of trails will cover 100km of the Waikato River.

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