Around the Mountains Cycle Trail awarded funding to secure access

Southland's Around the Mountains Cycle Trail has been awarded $23,000 from the New Zealand Walking Access Commission's Enhanced Access Fund, which supports projects designed to enhance access to New Zealand's outdoors.

The funding will help the Southland District Council formalise legal access across a number of private properties for the 54 kilometre final stage of the trail, which will lead from Centre Hill west of Mossburn to Mavora Lakes beside the upper Oreti River.

Once complete, the trail will span 175 kilometres, starting from Kingston on the southern shore of Lake Wakatipu and finishing at Walter Peak Station on the western shore, with the famed TSS Earnslaw steamboat connecting the start and finish of the trail.

Earlier sections of the trail have already been built, with significant funding support from parties including central government and the Southland District Council. The trail forms part of Nga Haerenga - The New Zealand Cycle Trail.

New Zealand Walking Access Commission Chief Executive Mark Neeson said the section of the trail receiving funding support from the Enhanced Access Fund would enhance access to the area and provide a remarkable experience for locals and visitors.

“This is a project that provides immense value for New Zealand. It will open up new ways to access an amazing area with spectacular scenery, with great benefit to Kiwis and visitors to the country.

“This project has already received support from central and local government and generous assistance from private landholders who have agreed to allow access across their land. Our latest funding will be used to help secure enduring access for the benefit of all New Zealanders,” Mr Neeson said.

The Southland District Council is one of two organisations nationally to be awarded funding through the Enhanced Access Fund's third funding round of 2014-2015. There are four rounds being run in the 2014-2015 year, with a total of $76,000 available.

The other funding recipient is the Rotary Club of Plimmerton Charitable Trust, which will receive $5,687 to support the creation of the next stage of the Te Ara Piko pathway around the Pauatahanui inlet near Porirua.

Further details about the fund and the application process are available in the Enhanced Access Fund section of the Commission's website.