Cycle route to open Russell to commuters and tourists
Published on 10 August 2022
Cycling tourists and locals will soon have a safe and enjoyable alternative transport option when visiting one of the Far North’s most popular destinations once a cycle link is completed between Russell and Ōkiato.
Construction of the first section of the path was started in mid-July by Bay of Islands Walkways Trust which is leading the cycleway project with support from Far North District Council.
Chairman of the Bay of Islands Walkways Trust, William Fuller says the new track will incorporate an existing walkway between Russell and Ōkiato but will also create new paths to take cycling commuters and tourists away from the main road for a much safer and enjoyable journey.
The trail will include large tracts of native bush that is home to indigenous birdlife and will provide views of Cape Brett, Orongo Bay and Oneroa Bay. Track cyclists and walkers can also visit local winery, Omata Estate, as well as café’s and historical sites in Russell and Ōkiato. Bay of Islands Walkways Trust hopes to add a loop track from the Orongo Bay Motor Camp to the route.
While the final route is still to be determined, it is expected that the new trail will connect Russell to Pou Herenga Tai, Twin Coast Cycle Trail. Mr Fuller says, “It is hoped the new track will also open Russell up to cyclists seeking a safe commute to Ōpua via the ferry.”
The first of several track sections will be completed over the coming months and this work will provide an indication of construction costs per kilometre. The entire trail is estimated to be about 9km and, once an accurate cost is calculated, funding will be sought from local organisations, charities, and track users. Parts of the track will require clearing to construct the all-weather, rideable trail and the trust will call on volunteers to help with working bees as required.
The Bay of Islands Walkways Trust is supported by the Northland Transport Alliance, Far North District Council, the Department of Conservation and the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board.
Photo caption – the cycleway construction is community-led and breaking new ground between Russell and Ōkiato.