Trail planned from Pukeiti gardens to coast
A 12 kilometre walking and mountain biking trail from Mt Taranaki to the coast is being proposed to help attract a wider visitor base to the internationally known Pukeiti rhododendron gardens.
The Kaitake Trail is planned to follow old logging tracks within the Pukeiti rainforest boundary, and on a paper road towards Oakura, west of New Plymouth.
There would also be shorter loop tracks developed within the garden boundary for mountain bikers.
Funding for building the trail will be split between the Taranaki Regional Council, which owned and managed Pukeiti, and New Plymouth District Council which owned the paper road.
The proposed trail is part of a 10 year regional council management plan for Pukeiti.
Regional council chief executive Basil Chamberlain told a council executive, audit and risk committee meeting on Monday that Pukeiti was now more than ‘‘just a garden.’’
‘‘If the regional council wanted to maximise the value of Pukeiti there was a need to broaden the base of attractions,’’ he said.
The walking and biking trail would be aligned to the promotion of the Taranaki Crossing as a world class track and provide a gateway from Pukeiti for people walking the Taranaki Crossing.
Local economic impact reports placed the Taranaki Crossing as a significant visitor drawcard to helping the local economy grow.
The trail development during the next three years would coincide with other developments including a canopy walk to view rhododendrons from above, and an overnight accommodation hut for families.
Almost $5 million has been spent upgrading visitor facilities at Pukeiti during the past 18 months, including the rebuilding of the visitor lodge.