Up until now Wairoa hasn’t had a reputation for adventure sports – but a new mountain biking park aims to make it a destination of choice for locals and tourists alike.
Adventure Wairoa was formed in 2015 with the aim of getting Wairoa residents to become more active. Based out of the former Wairoa Rowing Club, it offers a range of sporting codes, from waka ama and kayaking to multisport and mountain biking.
The idea for the mountain bike park was sparked by a group of local mountain bikers who wanted a good selection of local trails, instead of having to truck up to Gisborne, or down to Hawke’s Bay. “The aim is to have a local and national attraction,” says Adventure Wairoa Chairman Russell McCracken.
The group approached Wairoa District Council, who had the ideal plot of tree-covered land at Fraser Street, and they were willing to help the group bring the idea off the page and into life. They got stuck into fundraising for the park, and Eastern & Central Community Trust contributed $40,000 towards the construction of the trails.
Professionally designed, and constructed by South Star Trails from Rotorua, the park itself took almost 3 years to make. It cost almost $170,000 to design and build, and offers 7.6 kilometres of trails within the 26-hectare site. There are 13 trails in total ranging from Grade 2 to Grade 4, featuring some interesting names like “Fluffy’s Demise” and “TNT”, and they’ve all been well-tested by the club’s members. The park officially opened in April 2018.
“It’s close enough to the town centre, and it’s challenging for every age group,” says Russell. “We get kids from the local schools using the park, as well as more experienced riders hitting the Trails. We are already regularly seeing large volumes of cars with bikes parked up at the car park, and in summer this place will be humming.”
There’s also a bonus for cyclists that make it to the top of the park. From there, they can see across to Rocket Lab’s launch site on the peninsula.
The club aims to make membership affordable, and provides mountain bikes to members who don’t own their own bikes. They’ve also struck up a deal with MenzShed Wairoa to help maintain their fleet of mountain bikes.
“This really is a great opportunity for both our local community and visitors to the region to get out into the fresh air, experience some adventure in an amazing setting, and have some fun,” says Russell. “We think it will be a great local and national attraction and will help boost adventure tourism to the region.”
Note: The first Tarawhiti Secondary Schools MTB Competition is planned to be held at the park in September this year