Thousands of mountain bikers and walkers have explored two new trails above the lower half of Rapaki Track over the summer break.
The Elevator dual-direction mountain bike trail and Kowhai walking trail opened in early December, and regional parks manager, Kay Holder, says they’re helping ease the pressure on the busy Rapaki Track.
“Rapaki Track is one of the most popular routes in the Port Hills, but in the past there have been safety issues, as some mountain bikers came down at high speeds and caused conflicts with walkers and runners,” says Ms Holder.
“With both the Elevator and Kowhai trails opened in time for the summer break, we’ve noticed a significant decrease in traffic on Rapaki Track itself, as walkers and mountain bikers explore and use the new trails.
“We’re really pleased with the positive response we’ve received to these new trails, and to see thousands of people enjoying them over the Christmas holiday period.”
Both trails begin on the left-hand side of Rapaki Track, about 100m above the end of the tarsealed road.
The intermediate-level Elevator trail climbs and joins onto the existing Taramea mountain bike loop track, while the Kowhai track leads to the top of Montgomery Spur. Both trails then rejoin Rapaki Track about halfway up near the stockyards.
The two new trails were built by contractors and volunteers during the 2022 winter spring, following a public consultation process and hearings panel in 2021. More than 300 individuals and groups provided feedback during the consultation.