Ride Coromandel
Photo by Ride Coromandel

Connecting the Dots — creating a trails network across the Coromandel Peninsula

One organisation that Herenga ā Nuku Aotearoa is working with is Ride Coromandel. Ride Coromandel has developed some innovative projects recently, such as the Coromandel Township Mountain Bike Park. This park lives among the kauri forest in a way that supports and protects the forest from kauri dieback.

Ride Coromandel is part of the Coromandel Cycle Trails Collective, which hopes to expand the regional trail network to 400 km in the next ten years.

And Herenga ā Nuku Aotearoa supports the collective’s efforts to create that network.

The collective wants to create new outdoor access at locations across Coromandel that link to existing tracks or public spaces.

These new tracks will use many different types of public land in the area, including unformed legal roads and maybe even private land. They will provide key linkages for bikers.

The collective and Herenga ā Nuku are always grateful for private landowners’ support, whether they own small or large blocks. With their help, the entire peninsula could connect to the trail network.

Traversing so many different land types means there are many access issues. Herenga ā Nuku is helping the collective find solutions.

Herenga ā Nuku regional field advisor Lauren Schick says the project is inspiring.

“It could be a huge tourist attraction. Some of the planned tracks may even be able to hold events like mountain biking competitions.”

But, before all that, Lauren must help the collective sort out routes and the access needed. All the individual pieces of land need to come together. Each of them might have different access solutions that need to stitch together.

“We enjoy finding ways to make individual tracks part of something bigger. This provides connectivity and access, and adds to the trail network,” says Lauren.

Lauren and her colleagues searched property titles to find access easements and track alignment options. These offer new track options that Herenga ā Nuku can investigate.

The key, says Lauren, is to get everyone involved from the start. “We build good relationships and let everyone see how the plan can benefit their community.”

“So that’s the main thing that’s happening now. We are talking to different organisations, landowners and groups and getting their input. That’s quite slow, but it is the most important thing.”

There is nothing physical to see yet. But if the collective develops these tracks, there could be benefits to the community and even tourism opportunities. There is an ever-expanding network of biking and walking tracks in the Coromandel. All this makes for a regional and potentially national outdoor recreation destination.

This is typical of the work Herenga ā Nuku does — helping early in the process to secure access on which local groups and communities can build their tracks and trails.