A new assessment of Murihiku Southland’s cycle trails and mountain bike parks shows it is well poised to grow as a distinctive cycle tourism destination.
Great South engaged independent consultant Rob MacIntyre from Destination Planning Ltd to complete this work for the region with funding from the Government’s Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Plan funding.
Between the region’s existing cycling assets and the motivated groups working on multiple future projects around the region, the resulting Murihiku Southland Cycle Tourism Opportunity Assessment shows that with investment and greater coordination, it has the potential to grow an exciting cycling proposition.
Great South Tourism and Events Manager Mark Frood said: “from the mountains of Fiordland, lakes, rivers, farmland and an extraordinary and wild coastline with views to Rakiura, we have a huge variety of landscapes and experiences, which are distinctively different from those of our neighbours.”
“Queenstown and Central Lakes draw in significant numbers of domestic and international cyclists and there is opportunity to leverage this.”
As an example of the potential, a cycle tourism market insights report completed in 2021 showed that 35% of the adult Australian population were in the cycle tourism market, and two in five said they were likely to travel to New Zealand for leisure in the next three years, Mr Frood said.
The Assessment has been shared with those who contributed to it, and it is now available for the wider public to view - Murihiku Southland Cycle Tourism Opportunity Assessment
More than 70 interviews were conducted with stakeholders, including community groups, councils, DOC, iwi, and other relevant organisations to inform the document.
“There are many groups working throughout the region and all will need support to complete their projects. This Assessment goes some way to sharing the current situation and opportunities for the future that will help Councils, funders and ultimately Government to see where support is needed.”
The Cycle Tourism Opportunity Assessment is a key output from the Murihiku Southland Destination Strategy, released in September 2023, which identified cycling as a key pillar for the region and complements the Southland Cycling Strategy 2016 – 2026.
Great South Destination Development Advisor Nic Wills said: “the Assessment is focused on the tourism potential for cycling in our region, but of course there are wider social and economic benefits to our local communities, including assisting with low emission transport options.”