On beauty’s trail
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.