Hauraki Rail Trail opening postponed
The opening of the Pūkorokoro-Miranda to Thames section of the Hauraki Rail Trail has been postponed due to the forecast poor weather on Saturday.
A provisional new date for the opening has been set for 18 November, to enable ministerial special guests to attend post-election.
The Associate Minister of Tourism, the Hon Nicky Wagner, approved Grade 1 Great Ride status for this latest section of the Hauraki Rail Trail this morning. This means that the ride is suitable for all ages and abilities.
The Hauraki Rail Trail is a joint project between Hauraki, Thames-Coromandel, and Matamata-Piako District councils.
The new section runs mostly along the top of the stop banks beside the Firth of Thames, bordering one of the most important areas for shorebirds in the country. It is a joint project between Thames Coromandel District Council, and Hauraki District Council who contributed $1million each to the project. NZ Transport Agency also contributed $1 million for the construction of a `clip-on’ cycle lane attached to the downstream side of the Piako Bridge, which spans the Piako River on State Highway 25, to provide a safe crossing for Rail Trail users and road cyclists.
Pūkorokoro-Miranda is recognised as an internationally significant habitat for migratory birds by the Wetlands Convention, established at Ramsar in Iran in 1971. Its mudflats and shell banks are a seasonal home for around 40 species of shorebirds including bar-tailed godwits and red knots, which breed in Alaska and Siberia. These birds fly from Pūkorokoro-Miranda to their breeding sites and back again every year, with a stopover in China.
The official opening of the Thames to Pūkorokoro-Miranda section of the Hauraki Rail Trail is confirmed for Saturday 9 September.
Rail Trail manager Diane Drummond says it will be a fun, family event with lots of activities for all ages.
“I’ve got such a spring in my step about this section. It’s is going to be a great asset on the Rail Trail. I’m so pleased it’s going to be open in time for spring,” she said. “The scenery and birdlife along the way is incredible."
The day kicks off with simultaneous dawn blessings at 5:30 at each end of the new section: At the Robert Finlay Wildlife Area in Pūkorokoro-Miranda (at the bird hide carpark) and at the west end of the Kopu Bridge (parking is available at the layby on that side of the bridge).
Fun day formalities begin at Kopu at 8.30am, with a Rail Trail ride (or walk) kicking off at 9.30am. Shuttle services will be available at various points along the way for one-way riders, or those only wanting to do part of the Rail Trail.
A new bike, courtesy of Jolly Bikes, is also on offer for the person who turns up wearing the best bird costume on the day.
“Everyone’s invited, so put a ring around this date in your calendar and start working on your bird costume,” says Drummond.
“I’ve already put an order in for a good dose of sunshine on the day, so finger’s crossed we’ll get some great spring weather.”
If you are interested in having a market stall at the opening in Kopu or at one of the shuttle service pick-up locations, please contact Lisa D'souza at email@example.com or phone 07 868 0329.
View the Grand Opening brochure showing the opening programme, how to win spot prizes and more.
- Hauraki Rail Trail Grand Opening brochure [PDF, 735 KB]